MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — Taxpayers in one Mississippi county spent more than $15,500 to send 11 people to Washington to visit Congress.

The Meridian Star submitted a public records request to find out how much the February trip cost Lauderdale County. The group included four of the five Lauderdale County supervisors, the county administrator, two board attorneys, a representative from Yates Construction, two representatives of LPK Architects and the CEO and president of East Mississippi Business Development Corporation.

Some officials are now wondering whether the journey was productive.

One of the main goals was to talk about the U.S. Postal Service selling an old federal courthouse in downtown Meridian to the county. That purchase is an important part of Lauderdale County's effort to renovate its rundown and cramped county courthouse. The Postal Service has not yet provided an answer.

LPK Architects and Yates Construction both have key roles in renovating the county courthouse, but relocating and splitting county business between the county courthouse and federal courthouse are in the plans for supervisors.

Lauderdale supervisors' president Wayman Newell said "only time will tell" whether the Washington trip was worthwhile.

"You go and you ask and nothing gets done, that's a wasteful trip in my opinion," Newell said. "But you have to try to get something for the constituents."

Newell said the trip allowed supervisors to solicit help from congressional representatives on local issues, such as the courthouse, to save taxpayer money.

"As president of the board, I thought I should go," Newell said.

Jonathan Wells, in his first term as a supervisor, said he wanted to go to Washington for the experience, adding that communicating with representatives face-to-face allowed for greater understanding than a telephone call.

"I think it's harder for them to say 'no' face-to-face. They make a connection with you that they don't if you call," Wells said.

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Information from: The Meridian Star, http://www.meridianstar.com