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Budget meetings at the Capitol, on the agenda: agency contracts

JACKSON, Miss.- Special budget groups are meeting at the capitol to discuss agency contracts and the economic impact they have on tax payer money, on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

During the legislative session, agency contracts are reviewed by a board,although stipulations do apply. The board can only review contracts that hit a certain financial mark.

That number is $100,000, according to Buck Clarke, State Senator. This does not allow for the review of smaller outsourced contracts set up by these state agencies.

“This is one of the broad categories that you look at in budget,” said Clarke. “It can be a wide range of things here. It could be MDOT for instance hiring an outside engineering firm to do some road work, or the Attorney Generals office hiring an outside law firm on contract.”

Clarke said often there simply is not enough time to review every single contract, big or small, during the session and these budget meetings allow for a more in depth investigation.

“Each one is different for different types of services and we do have a contract review board that looks at contracts over a certain price,” said Clarke. “We’re going to have them come in and talk to us a little bit about what some of those contracts are, some are rather large and made up of a lot of money.”

Many times these contracts can be avoided when there are departments within state agencies designed to do the work themselves. These meetings are able to determine when a contract is needed and when the work can be accomplished through already in-place departments.

The goal is to make sure tax payer money is being used as well as possible, according to Clarke, because even a contract as small as $1,000 is a lot of money to some people.

The meetings will last through Wednesday and there is no confirmation yet on whether a report will be available for the public.

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