CATEGORY: SUP Lee Board of SupervisorsMOULDE
Ivy lauds district “town hall” meeting
By Philip Moulden
District 4 Lee County Supervisor Tommie Lee Ivy pronounced himself “thrilled” Monday night with the outcome of his first district “town hall” meeting, an event he intends to stage semiannually to involve constituents in county government.
“I think for the first meeting it went real good,” said Ivy, whose victory in November made him the first black to sit on the county’s governing board in more than 100 years. “The people asked questions and had input in the meeting. I am thrilled to death with it.”
Among concrete results, residents agreed to a March 16 litter and trash cleanup along district roadways. Ivy said he would arrange for a county truck to collect and dispose of the trash. Other cleanups may follow.
He also said he was investigating the possible use of jail inmates for such efforts, a circumstance favored by many of the 25 or so people attending the session. But the idea poses problems, Ivy conceded, citing the need for sheriff’s department security and the violent nature of some inmates.
“The inmates are just sitting there, they need to be doing something,” one man said. “All the inmates there are not violent.”
“We’re going to work on that,” Ivy said, but noted litter is a community problem. “It is not going to be off the road unless we pick it up.”
Residents of the county’s towns and cities also questioned the role of county government in helping with their problems. Municipal residents are county taxpayers and Tupelo’s 4th District voters were a major force in Ivy’s election.
“What are some of the things you can do for our community? I don’t know if you have any jurisdiction or not,” said a Tupelo Haven Acres resident, who said ditches in his area need better maintenance.
Generally, those problems need to be referred to city government, Ivy and County Administrator Ronnie Bell said. But Ivy vowed to work with municipalities whenever possible.
Bell noted city residents are eligible for many services that are paid for through county taxes. The courts, the health department, human services, the community college, the library and many other agencies receive some funding through the county, he said.
“There are a lot of things your taxes pay for that you don’t realize,” he said.
Other constituents voiced concerns about standing water on some roadways following “the least little rain,” and poor cable television service in some areas.
Looking to the future, residents suggested a county parks and recreation system, a program to acquaint youths with police and firefighting programs, drug counseling programs for people who “don’t need to be incarcerated,” programs to encourage young people to get involved in governmental functions, and placement of roadside litter barrels.
“I’d like to see the 4th District be the nicest, cleanest community it can … if we work together we can make it,” Ivy said.
He set the next meeting for Aug. 26.
“I think county government is not one individual … all of us need to get involved in county government,” Ivy told the group. “There’s no way one individual can know what’s going on in the 4th District. … We can help one another.”