Northeast Itawamba Water Association board election set for Jan. 5

By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times

Northeast Itawamba Water Association customers will help decide the future direction of their system early next year.

Saturday, Jan. 5, has been selected as the day the regional water system’s customers will vote on three spots on the highly-scrutinized board of directors. Voters will cast their ballots from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Salem Community Center.

The current spots up for grabs include those currently held by Reed Adams, Oneal Hammock and Steve Holcomb. All three incumbents were nominated to return to their positions.

They’ll have some competition, though: Darrell Chumbley will vie for the spot Adams currently holds; Sandra Rayburn is up for Hammock’s spot; and Johnny Yielding will run against Holcomb.

Nominations for the positions were garnered from water association customers who attended the system’s annual meeting which was held Monday night. Around 25 people attended the meeting.

Election commissioners were either nominated from the floor or selected by the board of directors. They include Jimmy Holcomb, Stanley Mitchell, Pete Elrod, Cully Hartsell, Dale Embry and chairman Martha Chestnutt.

Board members are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the water system, which services more than 1,700 customers in the Salem and Ridge Road areas. They are also responsible for setting the budget each year.

The board has a total of seven members: three from each the Salem and Ridge areas and one at-large.

The three contested positions will be decided by whomever shows up on election day. According to the water association’s bylaws, a quorum — or 51 percent of the water association’s members — isn’t required to hold an election. Instead, any majority vote qualifies.

In other words, if only 10 customers vote, and six of them vote for “candidate X,” then he or she is elected to the position.

The new board members will be tasked with helping decide how the system will begin supplementing its water supply to compensate for low water levels, a multi-million dollar decision that will affect the direction of the water system in the foreseeable future.

Most elections, according to water board president Ralph Burkes, see about 400 people voting.

adam.armour@journalinc.com