Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler and Mary McLaurin speak to the media.
Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler and Mary McLaurin speak to the media.
CANTON - Many residents from south Madison County organizing a "Tea Party Tax Revolt" against supervisors had to wait in the hallway Tuesday as an overflow crowd kept them from entering the board room.

Hundreds showed up for Tuesday's meeting of the Madison County Board of Supervisors, some coming by bus from south Madison County to protest what they say is wastful and misdirected spending of tax dollars.

Most of those protesting weren't able to get into the board room as residents from Canton and north Madison County filled up seating an hour before the meeting began.

People lined the walls of the board room and clogged the board room doorways.

Sheriff's deputies and fire officials orded many to stand outside in the hallway.

Some carried signs and waved flags while others craned their necks to catch a glimpse or hear the proceedings.

Several television media outlets arriving late were also forced to wait in the hallway.

At one point District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin said, "I suggest the news media stay in the hall," drawing laughter from the crowd.

Two weeks ago supervisors announced the collapse of the Reunion interchange project and that they would redirect $21 million set aside for the interchange to other projects -- many of them in the more unpopulated parts of Madison County.

Organizers of the protest say they disagree with where the funds are being spent and are also upset that nearly $5 million has been spent on the Reunion interchange, much of that going to County Engineer Rudy Warnock.

Mary McLaurin of Madison helped organize the protest sending out an email last week calling for a "Madison County Tea Party Tax Revolt."

The group chartered a bus and were scheduled to take a tour of what McLaurin described as "Madison County Roads to No Where."

She spoke at length to the board calling for more open government and an end to misguided spending.

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler was among those left outside the board room protesting and later joined McLaurin in the hall to talk to the media.

Canton Mayor William Truly was also on hand and defended the actions of supervisors.

He said in years past a disproportionate amount of county road funds have gone towards projects in Madison and Ridgeland while Canton and other parts of the county have been left out.

The $21 million in funds previously allocated for the Reunion interchange were redistributed to help fund 10 other county road projects.

More than half of that money - $11 million - will go towards two phases of the Calhoun Station Parkway.

The following are the projects:

• Hoy Road widening - $1.5 million

• Calhoun Station Parkway Phase II - $3 million

• Calhoun Station Parkway Phase III - $8 million

• Yandell Road widening & reconstruction - $2.14 million

• Way Road overlay - $500,000

• Moss Road reconstruction - $1.5 million

• Pavement overlays in North Madison County - $2 million

• Dover Lane overlay - $302,000

• Normandy Circle overlay - $93,000

For more see Thursday's Madison County Journal.