Attorney General Jim Hood has issued an opinion that the City of Yazoo cannot dissolve the Yazoo Recreation Commission alone.
Because the organization was created jointly by the city and Yazoo County, the city cannot act to dissolve it alone.
A letter requesting the opinion of Attorney General Jim Hood was sent by city board attorney Sarah O’Reilly Evans.
Leigh Triche Janous, special assistant to the attorney general, responded with an opinion on the possible dissolution of the Yazoo Recreation Commission, which was filed on July 6.
Based on the attorney general’s records, O’Reilly-Evans was instructed by Mayor Diane Delaware to seek an opinion.
“The Mayor of Yazoo City, MS has requested that we seek your official opinion as to the potential dissolution of the Yazoo Recreation Commission as a review of all agreements and strategic planning for the City,” O’Reilly said, in the issue presentation.
The Yazoo Recreation Commission was established by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Yazoo County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 1, 1980 to manage and control recreational facilities in the city and county.
“The local and private legislation which authorized the establishment of the Commission does not specifically provide a procedure for dissolving the Commission,” O’Reilly-Evans continued. “Thus, the City of Yazoo City seeks direction as to whether the City of Yazoo City can unilaterally dissolve the Commission...”
O’Reilly-Evans also requested the attorney general’s opinion about “the procedure for dissolving the assets of the Commission should the Commission itself be dissolved.”
The attorney general’s office said the city council could not dissolve the Yazoo Recreation Commission without the county’s participation.
“The City of Yazoo City may not unilaterally dissolve a recreation commission that was jointly established by the municipality and the county,” the attorney general’s office replied. “The mayor and board of aldermen of the City of Yazoo City and the Board of Supervisors of Yazoo County, in the absence of legislation dictating the procedure for dissolution, may jointly dissolve the recreation commission by repealing the ordinance/resolution creating it.”
The attorney general’s office said since the commission was jointly established by the city and county boards, withdrawing from the commission “would have to rely on specific legislative authority to do so.”
“We find no corresponding statutory authority which would permit the municipality to withdraw from or unilaterally dissolve the subject recreation commission,” the opinion reads. “...any attempt to dissolve the recreation commission would require an action of both the Mayor and Board of Aldermen and the Board of Supervisors.”
County officials expressed surprise at the news that the city sought an opinion on the matter.
“We didn’t know anything about this,” said Cobie Collins, president of the Board of Supervisors. “We always hear the mayor and city board saying they want to work with us, but sometimes their actions indicate something else.”
There has been friction between the city and county regarding parks and recreation for years. Some city leaders believe the county isn’t contributing enough. Some county leaders say they may be willing to contribute more for specific projects, but they are unwilling to spend more toward the recreation commission’s general fund.