By David A. Farrell, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Aldermen here are eyeing a street paving project that might see up to 20 streets resurfaced at an estimated cost of more than $2 million. However, officials said they weren’t sure how many streets they could pave, based on the amount of money that will be available.
Mayor Billy Spiers on Tuesday gave the board of aldermen a list of 20 streets and asked the board to review the list, inspect the streets, and provide feedback at the next board meeting on Feb. 5.
Spiers said he was not publicly releasing the list because it might change, but he said an inspection last week by city officials generated the preliminary list.
Board attorney Martin T. Smith told the board, that based on the tax base, the city could issue up to a little over $2 million in general obligation bonds to cover the costs of the major project, if the board approves it.
Spiers said even though $2 million sounds like a lot, it won’t pave many streets. “The process is very expensive,” he said.
Smith told the board that if 10 percent of city electors, or 1500, whichever is greater, called for an election on the issue, the board would have to submit it to the voters for approval before raising the money and paving.
However city officials don’t expect any opposition since paving streets is popular with voters.
The general obligation bonds, if issued, would be retired by an additional city millage dedicated to paying off the bonds, Smith said. Poplarville right now has a low bonded indebtedness, he added.
Spiers told aldermen that his inspection of streets showed “they are in pretty bad shape,” and asked the board to make a visual inspection of the streets, too.
Spiers said a bond issue was the only way the city could afford to do any paving this year.
In other matters, the board discussed briefly the issue of upgrading its ordinances to address garage sales and transient vendors operating inside the city limits.
The board is considering revamping statutes applying to the operation of flea markets , garage sales and transient vendor sales after some merchants complained that vendors operating within the city limits were not paying state sales taxes. The city gets a portion of sales taxes collected by the state tax commission inside the city.
Attorney Smith briefed the board on what it could do, and said the board might want to look at similar ordinances adopted by other cities the same size as Poplarville. “You have the authority to regulate them,” said Smith.
The board tabled the matter to the next session.
The board also discussed a proposed sewer billing and collection contract between the city and the Pearl River County Utility Authority.
There is some difference of opinion covering several provisions of the contract and some Poplarville officials are expected to further discuss the matter with the utility authority’s board of directors on Thursday afternoon when the authority meets.
Currently, the City of Poplarville collects utility authority’s sewage bills from Poplarville residents, along with the water bills, and reimburses the utility authority. The utility authority owns the city sewage system but Poplarville still owns the water system.
In other matters, the board:
— Paid a Poplarville airport invoice of $5,878.90 outstanding on a portion of an airport project on which it had agreed to help.
— Canceled a lease agreement with the Norfolk-Southern Railway for leasing storage space.
— Accepted the resignation of assistant city superintendent Church Harris. Harris has worked for the city for 28 years and is retiring.
— Approved the Jan. 2 minutes, Jan. 15 claims docket, December expense report, payroll, system transaction report and privilege license report.
— Went into an executive session to discuss personnel.
— Adjourned to Feb. 5.