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Paving work set

MONTICELLO — Paving contracts and a new city beautificationordinance were the primary topics of the city board meetingTuesday.

Mayor David Nichols said contracts for the paving of fourstreets were let Tuesday.

“Paving on these projects will begin around the first of theyear as weather conditions allow,” Nichols said.

One of the projects is being funded entirely through an economicgrant, Nichols said. This unnamed street will connect the Highway27 Bypass with the new hotel.

Nichols said the other three projects include paving North andSouth Irwin Streets and South Columbia Street. He estimated thetotal cost of the projects at $32,000.

The board has also begun work on getting an estimate for fourother paving projects, Nichols said. An engineer is working now todetermine the cost of paving Rockport Avenue, Bridges Street,Western Avenue and Brinson Street.

The board also began reviewing a new city beautificationordinance. The ordinance, 12 pages long, expands theresponsibilities of landowners and allows for stricter penaltiesfor those who ignore it.

“We have one, but this one is much more thorough,” Nichols said.”We are becoming very serious about cleaning up this town. We arealready a very clean town, but there are some areas which need tobe addressed. This ordinance will give us the legal means to dothat.”

Among the new rules included in the ordinance are expandedduties for the building inspector. Under the present ordinance, thebuilding inspector was required to check buildings when they werecompleted but had very limited authority over existingstructures.

The new ordinance will give the building inspector the authorityto levy fines on landowners who have repeatedly warnings to cleanor repair their property. These penalties would also bestrengthened under the new ordinance.

“Just over a year ago, Monticello was named one of MississippiMagazine’s favorite towns,” Nichols said. “We want to make surethat visitors to our town also make Monticello one of theirfavorite towns.”

The magazine’s list only named 12 towns or cities throughout thestate. There are more than 297 cities and towns in Mississippi,according to the Mississippi Municipal League.

Nichols said he also informed the board Tuesday that the city isvery close to a deal with two businesses to locate here.

Land leasing negotiations are underway with a cellular towerservice to lease a piece of city property for a tower within thecity limits. The company then sells space on the tower to cellularservices.

“What’s exciting about that is we are taking city land we can’tuse and generating both lease and tax dollars for the city,”Nichols said.

The second business with negotiations in progress is a salvagegrocery store. They will offer frozen and dry goods. Nichols saidthe business owner is currently in site negotiations.

“It’s not a done deal, but it is very close to that,” hesaid.