City gets through cold with pipes OK

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Ward Five Alderman Fletcher Grice proposes repairs to municipal property during Tuesday night's board of aldermen meeting as board attorney Joe Fernald checks his paperwork.

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Ward Five Alderman Fletcher Grice proposes repairs to municipal property during Tuesday night’s board of aldermen meeting as board attorney Joe Fernald checks his paperwork.

The first board of aldermen meeting of the year Tuesday night went swiftly and began with a positive report on the city’s water situation the past few days.

“No water lines have burst during the hard freeze. We’ve spent much of our efforts the last couple days cutting off water,” said Water Department Superintendent Keith Lewis, referring to the hard freeze early this week.

Lewis cautioned the board to wait a few days for a full accounting of the water department’s performance. “Tomorrow (Wednesday) will tell the tale,” said Lewis Tuesday night.

After approving the minutes for last month, including from a specially called meeting Dec. 19, the board approved seven items in quick succession.

Among the matters the board approved was the Citizens for Economic Development Act resolution, or CEDA.

This is the first step that a number of cities across the state are taking that could lead to a one percent local sales tax.

Money collected from the potential tax would be put towards municipal services for the city, according to the resolution.

“The goal is to help improve infrastructure, build more parks or focus on one specific project that the community has in mind,” said Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes.

According to Mississippi House Bill 583, the proposed sales tax could only take place if 60 percent of voters approve of it in a city election.

The board approved the resolution unanimously, and now the petition will move to the state legislature for debate.

“It’s a ways away. But its one way cities such as Brookhaven and others are attempting to leverage some of their expenses,” said Estes.

The board also approved salaried and weekly payrolls for the month of December.

After an executive session, aldermen and the mayor offered a few items for future discussion. Among them included Ward Two Alderman Terri Bates’ request for a traffic light at the intersection of Monticello Street and Martin Luther King Drive.

“It’s an intersection with high-traffic volume. A light there would get rid of some of the congestion,” Bates said.

Previously, the city requested a traffic light for the intersection from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, but it was denied. As a final option, public works director Steve Moreton suggested the mayor send a letter to MDOT.

Mayor Cox, in turn, suggested the board consider hiring a code enforcement officer.

“We can fill the position with a retired police officer, or other candidate with some enforcement experience,” said Cox.

The code enforcement officer would enforce municipal affairs, and also potentially guard the FEMA 361 building on Industrial Park Road.

“There is already money in the budget for this,” said Mayor Cox.

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