Ward 3 election planned Feb. 10

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2004

A special election has been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 10, tofill the board of aldermen vacancy created when former Ward ThreeAlderman the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson took office Monday as LincolnCounty District One supervisor.

The board of aldermen set the election date Tuesday afterdeclaring the vacancy. City Clerk Iris Rudman Smith said theelection had to be at least 30 days, but not more than 45 days.after the vacancy occurred. Feb. 10 did not conflict with any boardmeeting dates.

“Only those in Ward Three will be affected,” Rudman Smith saidabout who will be eligible to run and vote in the specialelection.

The city clerk indicated that candidates would be able to startqualifying shortly. She said her office must get qualifyingdocuments printed first.

“We will try to have those ready by Monday,” said Rudman-Smith,adding that her office would also notify citizens regarding whenthey may start voting absentee in the election.

The special election winner will fill the remainder of Wilson’sunexpired term, which runs through July 2005.

In other business Tuesday, aldermen approved Police Chief PapHenderson’s request to start charging citizens $10 for copies ofaccident reports. The board also approved the chief’s request topurchase a new copying machine to replace one that has worn out inthe department.

Henderson said the charge for accident reports was necessary tooffset costs of reproducing more extensive report forms that arenow required by the state. Previously, there was no charge for acopy of an accident report.

“We’re not going to be able to continue doing that because ofthe copying paper that we’re going to have to purchase,” Hendersonsaid.

Also Tuesday, City Engineer Carl Ray Furr updated aldermen on avariety of projects under way in the city.

Furr said engineers are finalizing plans for MississippiDepartment of Transportation approval to extend Center Street nearthe Industrial Park Road overpass. Funds for the project are comingfrom leftover money following completion of the overpass andlighting and new traffic signals at the North Jackson Streetintersection.

“We’re going to extend Center Street as far north as our moneywill let us go,” said Furr, adding that he did not expect that anyadditional right of way would be needed.

Furr said MDOT’s Elton Jay would be at a future board meeting topresent findings from a study regarding the possibility ofdeveloping a new airport. The engineer said a runway paving projectat the current airport would get started as soon as the weatherallows.

“That project will be done in a very quick amount of time,” Furrsaid.

Then, Furr said, contractors could start planning for the pavingof several downtown streets.

“We should have a lot going on by June 1 in the street program,”Furr said.

Alderman-at-large Les Bumgarner encouraged Furr to askcontractors to be mindful of not inconveniencing businesses andcustomers during the project, especially around holidays. Furr saidthose issues could be discussed and addressed during apre-construction conference in which several businessrepresentatives could be invited to attend.

“Once it is over with, it’ll look nice in downtown,” Furr saidabout the paving project.

Aldermen delayed a request from Todd Phillips to allow hisproposed Virginia Avenue housing development to connect to citywater and sewer services. The development is outside the city butwithin a proposed annexation area.

Ward Four Alderman Bob Massengill pointed out that Phillips hadowned the property for six months and asked that aldermen be giventwo weeks to study his plans. City officials also wanted Furr tolook at the plans to see that the city sewer system can handle theadditional load.

Phillips said there are 68 town house style homes planned.Initially, 34 would be built, and he expected that to take about ayear.

The price of the homes will be around $120,000, and some wouldbe available for rent, Phillips said. He expected the Brookhavendevelopment to be more successful than a 26-home development inMcComb in which all the homes were sold.