By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – A small but steady stream of newly annexed residents flowed through City Hall on Wednesday for an event to make them feel welcome in Tupelo.
“Meet the City Day” drew several dozen people from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. who came to meet the mayor, department heads and other city officials and obtain information about their rights and responsibilities as Tupelo residents.
“I thought it has been great success,” said Mayor Jack Reed Jr. “People got to visit with everybody. I had one person who said they just wanted to meet me, wanted to meet their new mayor.”
Each municipal department set up a table staffed by employees who distributed pamphlets, maps, brochures and other materials about their services. Waste Management, which will begin providing garbage collection to the newly annexed areas on Oct. 1, also set up a table.
Richard Flood, who already lives in the city, said he stopped by for information about the Major Thoroughfare Program and about stray garbage cans blowing into his yard.
Both his questions got quick answers, and Flood left the event satisfied.
Another man, who declined to be identified, said he was annexed from the Auburn area and wanted to know where he’ll vote in November.
“You’ll vote in the same place you do now,” said City Clerk Kim Hanna, explaining that the annexation didn’t change Lee County voting precincts.
New residents will be assigned city voting precincts, though, she said. Tupelo will hold municipal elections next year for mayor and City Council members. The city will inform all residents about their polling locations as they are determined. The annexation became official on Sept. 2. New residents come from six different areas ringing the city that, together, total about 16 square miles ceded from unincorporated Lee County.
All new residents benefit immediately from Tupelo police, fire and code protection, as well as brush removal, right-of-way maintenance and animal control services from the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.
Other amenities, like water and sewer service to the areas that don’t already have them, will take longer to implement – perhaps a year or more.
“I think everybody appreciates the open-arms attitude that the city has had,” Reed said. “We want to make this as seamless and convenient as possible.”