Aldermen delay decision on turning over tax money

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2004

WESSON – The mayor and board of aldermen came to no conclusionTuesday as they continued to discuss how much money Copiah Countyshould receive from the town’s road and bridge taxes.

The decision on whether to give the county half or all thetown’s road and bridge taxes, which will be about $22,000, was leftin the air when the board tabled the matter until its Januarymeeting.

“Let’s don’t leave it up to them to spend the money,” saidAlderman Robert Derrick, arguing the town would have no way ofknowing how much of the money was used for Wesson projects.

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Alderman Lura Greer disagreed, saying the town always hasbenefited from turning the money over to county officials.

“In former years, we have always given all of that back to thecounty,” Greer said.

Derrick questioned what the county could do for the town in theupcoming year.

Alderman Hollis Cowen Jr. responded that there was “some majorrock and seal work to be done.”

Mayor Alton Shaw, who has received estimates from privatecompanies on the cost of such work, said he was told the minimumamount would $22,000 to $30,000.

Alderman David Douglas said he was concerned about streets inand around the cemetery.

“We need a lot of work in there,” Douglas said. “Those roadsreally need to be addressed.”

Greer agreed the area needed attention and said Copiah CountySupervisor Terry Channell told her the county would take care of itif the town asked them.

Derrick said it would be fine for the county to do the work aslong as their work was documented so town officials would know howmuch it cost.

“As long as we can account for our money,” Derrick said.

He asked aldermen to submit lists of streets that need work atthe next board meeting. Then, he said, he hoped to get estimatesfrom the county on the cost of the repairs.

In other matters, Shaw informed board members of a preliminaryplan to begin serving the Beauregard community, on the edge oftown, with sewer service.

The community would pay for use of the town’s sewage system,which water officials said would be more efficient with addedresidents.

“At this point, we’re looking at no expenditure to the town, andwe’ll make a little revenue off it,” Shaw said.

Shaw said he plans to update the board at the next meeting aboutthe agreement.

In other matters, board members approved Dudley Lampton as boardattorney Tuesday and also hired Bob Lawrence to serve as prosecutorfor the town.

They chose to allow part-time and elected officials theopportunity to participate in the Public Employees RetirementSystems. In the past, only full-time employees were allowed toparticipate in the retirement plan.

Attention returned to traffic in the cemetery during opendiscussion, as aldermen heard from town residents about theinconvenience of having the north gate closed.

The gate was closed in September after Police Chief SteveCarlisle talked with the board about drivers using the cemetery asa cut-through and traveling at unreasonable rates of speed.

In the past, signs have not deterred drivers from using thecemetery as a thoroughfare, he said.

“I think that is the most disrespectful thing, to have a streetthrough a cemetery,” said J.J. Inman. “That is a place ofrest.”

Inman and resident Carolyn Graham have relatives in the cemeteryand visit often. They noted drivers traveling at high rates ofspeed and frequent misuse of the roadway.

“Why should the ones who live on the north side have to driveall the way around to go in the cemetery?” asked Graham.

She suggested the principal of Wesson Attendance Center askstudents not to drive through the cemetery when traveling to andfrom school.

Shaw said he would talk with the principal but was unsure if theprincipal had authority over students off campus.