Meridian Star

Letters

August 28, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MERIDIAN — Mayor Barry on vetoes of council orders

    Last week I vetoed two city council orders — one that dealt with work on the South Industrial Park Protective Levee and another that dealt with a Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) grant to be submitted to Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).

    I want to be clear about why I vetoed those orders.

    The first veto was for Order No. 15270, which dealt with the city of Meridian hiring Kemp Associates, LLC to work on the South Industrial Park Protective Levee.

    The City of Meridian and Lauderdale County currently have an inter-local agreement with Engineering Plus regarding the South Industrial Park Protective Levee.

    This would have been a duplication of service and unwise use of taxpayer dollars.

    The second veto was for Order No. 15275, which dealt with Kemp Associates, LLC, writing and submitting a TEP grant to MDOT on behalf of the city of Meridian for a proposed project to get access for the disabled along two trails at Bonita Lakes.

    One reason for this veto is that grant writing for MDOT funds is within the scope of the city staff. I would never hire an outside source to write a grant for MDOT funds.

    The second reason is because the city is already exploring ways to make the lower trail at Bonita Lakes ADA accessible.

    The final reason for this veto is that this grant would have competed with a TEP grant already submitted to MDOT by my administration.

    Our TEP grant proposal would allow us to move forward with infrastructure repairs in our African-American Business District to the tune of $1.5 million for lighting, sidewalks and street work on 5th Avenue between 23rd and 26th streets.

    We can tie this grant with the recent $2.7 million grant from MDA Disaster Recovery for infrastructure repair around our MSU downtown campus.

    Combine those funds with the $4.5 million paving and drainage bond we recently passed and Meridian is on its way to significant infrastructure improvements over the next several months.

    That is one of the top priorities my administration, to repair and enhance as much infrastructure as possible.

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