Meridian Star

January 8, 2014

Wildcat pride may extend to car tags

By Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Proud supporters of the Meridian Public School District may soon have a new way to show their school pride.

    A new car tag option is in the works — one that would allow those purchasing a car tag in Lauderdale County to pay an extra $31 for a Meridian High School Wildcat tag.

    At the request of Dustin Markham, Ward Two councilman, the Meridian City Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution of support  to seek the necessary legislation.

    "This will help not only Meridian High School but the entire district. K through 12, all elementary schools, middle schools, junior high schools and the high school — academically and athletically," Markham said.

    Markham said $24 will go directly back to Meridian Public Schools; half for academics and half for athletics from kindergarten all the way through high school.

    Markham said $2 will go to the county tax revenues, $2 to the state's highway funds, $1 to the Mississippi Burn Center, $1 to the Mississippi Department of Revenue, and $1 to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

    However, at least 300 tags must be pre-sold before the Department of Revenue will begin production on a distinctive tag.

    When the Department of Revenue receives the 300 applications with the appropriate fees, and a design provided by the organization and approved by the Dept. of Revenue, the tag can be put into production. Markham said the proposed design has already been approved by the Dept. of Revenue.

    "We need it here in Meridian," Markham said. "I wanted to support the school district and have a way the school district can continue to be supported for years to come."

    For more information, Markham said, those who wish to apply for a Wildcat car tag may call Marie Harvey at the Meridian Public School District at 601-483-6271. Applications must be received by May 15.

    In other business, the Meridian City Council received an update on the new employee handbook that is in the works. Attorney Shanda Lewis is working with Meridian City Attorney Michael Goggans on the handbook, which is expected to be completed within the next month.

    Mayor Percy Bland presented an award to Hugh Smith, director of Public Works and acting chief administrative officer, for water quality. The Mississippi Department of Health recently announced that Meridian had been awarded a Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    "Current research shows that people who live in fluoridated communities have about 25 percent fewer cavities," Bland said in presenting the award. "The CDC also recommends water fluoridation as a safe and inexpensive method of preventing tooth decay."

    The council also passed an order executing a Homeland Security Grant Award and Grant for $38,000 which will pay for three classes of training for swift water rescue.

    Bland also said he should have a candidate for chief administrative officer to bring to the council next month.

    "The process has started and the interviews should be done within the next couple of weeks. By the first meeting in February I should be bringing the next CAO up for confirmation," Bland said. "We have gone through a lot of the applications and resumes."