Meridian Star

April 22, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — 'We are thrilled'

    The City of Meridian received its 2011 annual report from our independent auditor, Breazeale, Saunders, and O’Neil, on April 17, 2012.

    We are thrilled with the news from our independent auditor.

    During these tough economic times, the worst economy since the Great Depression, this is the best news we could get.

    While hundreds of cities around the nation still face bankruptcy, the City of Meridian took on the big problems, faced the hard choices, and made the tough decisions.

    I want to be clear — it was not easy to get where we are, and we still have a ways to go, but Meridian is on its way to a healthy recovery. We have cut expenses, held the line on taxes, while still encouraging growth.

    For FY 2011, sales tax revenue was up nearly one and a half percent, expenses for long-term liabilities —which includes general obligation bonds, special bonds, and capital improvements — held steady or decreased, and the general fund balance improved to a much more sustainable level.

    We no longer face that day of reckoning that looms over many other cities. Referencing potential city bankruptcies, Business Insider reported — and I quote — “The most challenging period is probably about 2013 to 2015. Literally, there could be hundreds of jurisdictions."

    In Meridian, we don’t fear the years 2013 to 2015. We welcome them. We embrace them. With our relationships in city, county, and state government — and with walls of division coming down every day — they could be our best years yet.

    Those years will be what we make them.

    This has been a bi-partisan government in Meridian, with bi-partisan decisions.

    On the significant decisions of the past three years — garbage service, bonds for waste water and paving, public safety policy — the decisions made have been overwhelmingly across the aisle.

    We left egos at the door, sat around the table, worked hard for the citizens of Meridian, and returned to a government of fundamental services.

    The one place you can see how well a government is working is in a budget. It is no different than how you would evaluate the condition of a business or a home. The budget is where the rubber meets the road.

    For nearly three years, the Office of the Mayor and the Meridian City Council have all worked hard together to turn this ship around.

    We have made some tough decisions, and today we are seeing the reasons for those decisions.

    Thank you, members of the City Council, for your cooperation and teamwork.

    Thank you citizens of Meridian for staying engaged, for taking a stake in your government, and for holding us accountable. Thank you for your diligence.

    We would put our financials up against any city’s financials in the state. We still have a lot of work in front of us, but we’re headed in the right direction and we’ve got the numbers to prove it.

Cheri Barry

Mayor of Meridian


sustainable food

Dear Editor

    Just in time for today’s Earth Day observance, a study published in Environmental Research Letters warns that animal manure and fertilizers used in growing animal feed emit large amounts of nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas. 

    An op-ed piece in the New York Times warns that the devastating environmental impacts of a meat-based diet are actually magnified when raising animals on the range, because this involves much more land and more greenhouse gas emissions.

    These conclusions are in keeping with an extensive United Nations Environment Program's report, which drew on dozens of smaller studies. The highly respected report concluded that agricultural production accounts for 70 percent of global freshwater use, 38 percent of land use and 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

    In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products must be replaced by vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as fossil fuels must be replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources. As the world’s most conspicuous consumers, we have a special obligation to lead in pursuing an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Our next trip to the supermarket is a great starting point.  


Milton Silva

Meridian, MS