By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
HOLLY SPRINGS – Holly Springs voters will choose May 7 between incumbent Mayor Andre DeBerry and State Representative Kelvin Buck to lead the city for the next four years.
DeBerry has held the office since 2001 and was an alderman for 10 years before that, including serving as mayor pro tempore.
Buck, who has represented District 5 in the House since 2004, previously served two terms as alderman. He is a former coordinating director with ABC24 TV in Memphis and is the current director of the Alliance Charitable Foundation in Holly Springs, whose work focuses on health care and health education issues.
DeBerry said successes during his tenure include the $6.9 million conversion of the old Mississippi Industrial College Homes into Spring Gardens, a 100-unit low-income residential development, along with balanced budgets, successful annual audits, no city layoffs and no property tax increases.
“We’ve included people in the process, we’ve brought revitalization to the entire area of the city, we’ve brought in businesses, and we’ve had continual commercial and residential construction,” DeBerry said. “We’ve got a good, solid record of improving this community and securing state and federal funding to help achieve that.”
DeBerry said his goals for the next four years include a $13.3 million overhaul of streets and sidewalks and construction of a 2 million-gallons-per-day wastewater treatment system.
“We could serve as a regional wastewater treatment facility for areas around us and also have extra capacity for industrial development,” he said.
Buck said his background in media and local and state government uniquely positions him to lead Holly Springs.
“We felt the city was ready for a new direction in leadership, one that could unify and build relationships to move the city forward,” he said. “That broad experience and exposure gives me an understanding of how government works at both levels and how I can use that to improve the situation here in Holly Springs.”
Buck said his priorities will include “a proactive approach” to economic development, expanding parks and recreational activities and enhancing public safety.
“We need to build the capacity of our fire and police protection,” he said.
While Buck believes he would be more successful at securing state and federal funding for local projects, he agrees with DeBerry on the need for massive street improvements.
“We really have to deal with the infrastructure issues that we face,” he said.