(WMC-TV) - Southaven Mayor Greg Davis spent more than $2,000 in Vegas and taxpayers picked up the bill.
The trip to Sin City was his first out-of-town trip since an investigation was launched into his misuse of public funds.
The mayor stands behind the $2,000 tab for which he was reimbursed. He attended the International Council of Shoppers Conference.
He says he has no say where conferences are held and the return Southaven will get for the investment is priceless.
Southaven taxpayers are keeping a keen eye on Mayor Greg Davis' every move.
This week, he released the receipts for the trip. It cost Davis and the two aldermen, who went with him, $6,000.
"That's airfare, that's hotel, that's taxi, that's everything related to the conference," said Alderman Ronnie Hale, who kept detailed receipts of the trip.
While the price tag raised some citizens' eyebrows, Davis says retail is vital to Southaven.
"It's over 36 percent of our entire budget. If we weren't bringing in new retail and new revenue, the only other alternative is a property tax increase," said Mayor Davis.
He said unlike cities around the country that are raising taxes, Southaven has had a decrease in taxes for the last four years.
"We have competition from cities that are just adjacent to us. We've got to be out there and be at the front of the line," he explained.
Hale explained a $600 dinner on the trip.
"That was one of our developers along our Main Street area. He's already committed to some additional property he's looking at buying," said Hale.
Davis pointed out the same conference gave Southaven the edge to win developers over to build Southaven Towne Center in the city instead of in Horn Lake.
"And now that produces over a million dollars per year to our general fund," Davis said.
With Davis under investigation by the FBI, after the state auditor said he spent $170,000 on personal trips, clothing, counseling, and at a Toronto sex shop, city leaders say they understand the scrutiny.
"I understand people are still trying to combine the problems of the past with what we still need to do to move the city forward," said Hale.
Mayor Davis still owes the city $63,000. So far, he has not been charged with anything. The case remains in litigation.