By Jennifer Jacob Brown
A new year has dawned, and with that new year come new plans and goals for the city of Meridian.
Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry has created an agenda for 2010 which revolves around improving basic services, including infrastructure improvements and public safety, for the city.
Barry said she will begin the new year by appointing an advisory board to help her make decisions on infrastructure improvements. Barry has previously made use of advisory boards made up of regular citizens to aid her in choosing school board members and civil service commission members.
She plans to do the same when looking at infrastructure improvements, she said, because she wants the input of the entire community.
Barry said the city needs so many improvements in infrastructure - everything from wastewater treatment to road repairs - that it's difficult to figure out which problems to address first. That's where the advisory board will come in. Because, as she said, "There's only so much money to go around, and we've got to start somewhere," the advisory board will make recommendations on where that start should be.
Barry made a lot of changes to board and commission appointees in 2009, and said she will continue to do so in 2010. She said approximately 10 positions will open in 2010, and she plans to fill them all promptly, looking first at the transportation commission.
Barry said she and her staff will also begin working on plans to build a new police station in 2010. She wouldn't say whether she would make a proposal this year, but did say she will be working to find the funding for the new building, the construction of which is likely to be costly.
In 2009, Barry pushed to end an agreement for the redevelopment of the Threefoot building, but said she will look for a more favorable development plan in 2010. The 2009 agreement required both public and private funding, and Barry said she will look in 2010 for private developers willing to work with the building.
By Jennifer Jacob Brown
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