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Candidates cite goals for better roads, bridges

Editor’s note: Today, The DAILY LEADER continues a series ofquestions and answers with candidates for District Five supervisor.Candidates Michael Assink and Bob K. Smith and incumbent GaryWalker responded while candidates Rayborn Bowman and Donald R.Golmon did not participate.

Roads are a constant source of concern for districtcitizens. What road improvements do you envision for your districtand how do you plan to pay for them? Would you consider a taxincrease? If not, what services would you cut to fund the proposedroadwork?

Michael Assink:

There is a great need for road work in District 5. One exampleis the Jackson-Liberty Road. I call it the “wonder road.” I wonderwhy Copiah County can overlay miles and miles of roads with asphaltin areas where probably more deer cross than people travel, yetJackson-Liberty, one of the busiest main roads in Lincoln County isstill the same after many, many years. I just wonder! Why raisetaxes, or cut services, when there are other resources, such asstate aid for roads, oil, gas, and timber income from sixteenthsection land?

Bob K. Smith:

Roads and bridges are indeed a constant source of concern inDistrict 5. The infrastructure of our roads and bridges arecritical to our citizens’ safety not to speak of the damage tovehicles. As supervisor, I will establish a scheduled maintenanceand repair plan for our roads and bridges. I will utilizetechnology to establish schedules and routing of equipment andmanpower year round. I believe that all public roads should besurfaced and I will establish a plan to achieve this goal.

Counties, districts, communities all have available funds whichcan be returned to them in the form of state aid and federalaid/grants. Those tax dollars are used somewhere and we mustaggressively pursue the return of those funds to recover from thepresent conditions of our roads. As Supervisor, I will work withcommunity leaders to establish priorities and have a written planfor recovery. As part of the plan, our major commute road, ourunsafe bridges, poorly surfaced roads will be a priority. I willaggressively pursue funding in the form of state aid, federalcommunity grants and other special funding. I will establish achannel of communication with state and federal officials tosupport this funding. For example, due to the diligent efforts ofthe leaders in the city of Wesson, they recently receivedapproximately $237,000 in a grant for sidewalk construction. Ibelieve we can and should be able to find funding for improving thecondition and safety of our roads and bridges.

We do not need more taxes; we need more management and thereturn of our taxes that we already pay. I will manage the District5 budgeted funds and I will aggressively pursue businessdevelopment revenue, state aid and federal community aid andgrants. As District 5 Supervisor, road and bridge improvement willbe a top priority.

Gary Walker:

There are many roads in the district that are state aid andfederal routes in the district. You can work with state aid to getmoney for roads and L.S. B. P. bridge projects. This money comesfrom the state of Mississippi. Sometimes the money comes fast or ithas to build up over a few years. The federal money comes also comefrom the state and also Washington D.C. Once or twice a year we goto Washington to see the Congressmen and ask for help with roads.So far they have been very good to Lincoln County over the past fewyears. Tax increase (NO) you just need to manage the money youhave. You ask about cutting services, don’t cut any services, justmanage your work carefully.