By Jack Gurner
YALOBUSHA – With only four weeks left to qualify for municipal elections in the county, only three new candidates have entered the race.
Jeffery Lyn Welch and Phillip S. Tallant have qualified to run for Alderman of Ward Three in Water Valley and Kerrie Staten has turned in her paperwork to run for Mayor of Coffeeville.
Already in the running in Water Valley are Mayor Bill Norris and Ward One Alderman Charlie Harris, both incumbents. In Coffeeville, Mayor Mack Burns has qualified to run for re-election there and in Oakland, Sharonda Jones and Henry Lumas have qualified to run for alderman slots.
In order to qualify for the Water Valley city election, a political party candidate must pay the $10 filing fee and file a statement of intent by the March 6 deadline, according to City Clerk Snider. “If they are running as independent, they must have 50 signatures of registered voters,” Snider said. Independent candidates don’t pay the filing fee.
The Water Valley mayor is paid $1200 per month while aldermen receive $425 per month.
In Coffeeville all candidates run as independents and are required to get 15 signatures from registered voters, according to Town Clerk Moody.
The Coffeeville mayor is the highest paid municipal officer in Yalobusha County at $1250 per month. Alderman make $200 per month with the alderman serving in the pro term position getting an additional $20 per month.
In Oakland, candidates run as independents just as in Coffeeville. The Oakland mayor is paid $725 per month and aldermen get $100 per month.
Water Valley will hold its Primary Election May 5 and the General Election on June 2. Coffeeville voters will go to the polls only on June 2.
The Herald is asking all candidates for city offices in Water Valley to sign the Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information pledge to adhere to the provisions of the Open Meetings Act and Public Records Act.
Candidates from Coffeeville and Oakland are also welcome to sign copies of the pledge.
The open government pledge reads as follows:
As a candidate for public office in the city of Water Valley, Mississippi, I hereby pledge my dedication to the principles of open government. Specifically, I recognize that the holding of public office in a representative democracy is a public trust. I therefore pledge to abide by the provisions of the Mississippi Open Meetings Law (Miss. Code Ann. 25-41-1 et seq.) and the Mississippi Public Records Act (Miss. Code Ann. 25-61-1 et seq.) when carrying out my duties as a public servant. Further, if elected, I pledge to promote openness at all levels of the city administration through the understanding of and compliance with the state open meetings and open records laws.