By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – As the season of peace approaches, Mayor Larry Hart reminded those present at the December meeting of the City Board that the country is involved in wars both overseas and right here at home.
Hart pointed to the Dec. 7 date on the meeting agenda and remembered the young Americans who died at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He then talked about the sacrifices of American troops currently fighting in Afghanistan.
“As a government, as a community we ought to always remember those who have served in days gone by and those who are serving currently in our armed services,” the Mayor added.
Hart turned his attention to the war here at home – the war against illegal drugs – and said there was good news on that front. “The community is always interested in things going on with the drug war.”
He asked Police Chief Mike King to report on the arrests that were made starting the previous day, Monday, Dec. 6. “They’ve been working a little over a year making cases. It started Friday with the Grand Jury and they had their roundup yesterday.”
King said that 42 cases of sales and possession were presented to the Grand Jury. “These 42 counts resulted in the indictment of some 27 different individuals and by Monday afternoon we had arrested 24 of those 27 indictments. We still have three outstanding.”
The Police Chief added that the roundup was in conjunction with cases made by the Yalobusha Sheriff’s Department and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
Hart congratulated King, Captain Roger Thomas, and the Police Department and said that the arrests were exciting news. “It’s occasions like this where our community gets to see what we have done and are doing in relation to drugs. “
The Mayor also praised the work of patrol officers whose traffic stops and seizure of narcotics and money fund the undercover operations. “I think our Police Department is doing a good job with this.”
Among other actions at the December meeting, the Board of Aldermen:
•Were informed of the City’s holiday schedule.
Hart said that the City would close on Dec. 23 and 24. “We’ll be back on Monday, which we anticipate being a real heavy day. “ He added that Dec. 31 would be the New Year’s holiday.
•Heard that the SCADA system installation is almost complete.
The Mayor reported that according to Water and Sewer Department Superintendent Morris Surrette, the system is 98 percent installed.
The purpose of the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system is to notify city personnel of any problems that may occur with its sewer and water systems. The SCADA equipment will keep track of water leaks, make sure sewer pumping stations are functioning effectively, and enable pumps and wells to be controlled remotely in case of pump failures at other locations.
“He has already experienced some good results with it,” Hart added, referring to an incident during which the system detected a drop in water pressure.
The $118,000 system will be paid for with grants from the ARC and the state.
•Approved advertising for bids for culverts and the City’s depository.
• Agreed to sell surplus property.
“One or two of the departments have some surplus they need to sell,” Hart said. “We do this annually.”
• Approved the purchase of a police vehicle.
“In keeping with our system of renewing a police car each year on a five-year rotation, we are ready to purchase another police car at state bid price,” the Mayor said.
•Were informed of the City’s employee Christmas dinner to be held Wednesday, Dec. 22, at noon in the depot.
• Heard one non-agenda item, a report from Main Street Director Mickey Howley on upcoming WVMSA projects.
Howley said that Main Street is currently getting bids for a professional survey of an area of downtown to be included on the National Register of Historic Places. Being listed on the register could mean tax credits of up to 45 percent for local property owners who are doing substantial renovations.
He added that the members of the Town and Country Garden Club are considering doing the very first streetscape project, a “bump-out” planted with flowers in front of the Railroad Park pavilion.
Howley continued that two young artists were putting a gallery in the Wade’s Barber Shop building. He said they are currently working on the interior and would soon begin work on the façade. “This particular building is only ten feet wide. Even though it is very small, it brings a lot of charm to our downtown. Everyone who comes to town comments on that barber shop. They love the way it looks.”
The Main Street Director also told Aldermen that the Jenkins Service Station building had been purchased and a new business would probably be opened within a year. The business will be compatible with the current zoning, according to Howley.
• Adjourned after meeting for just under 15 minutes.