By Cain Madden/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Steady population growth has made street improvements something Saltillo aldermen can’t ignore, said Alderman Mitch Brazeal, and Tuesday night they took action.
The aldermen voted in principle to express interest in exploring a special thoroughfare tax levy as an option to pay for street improvements.
A thoroughfare tax would be a millage increase set aside specifically for improving major streets. Tupelo voters adopted a 10-mill levy in 1991 and have renewed it with a vote every five years since.
“It is a good concept,” Alderman Brad Woodcock said Wednesday. “I’d like to see us move forward with the possibility of doing that, but I also want to make sure our taxpayers, our citizens, are behind it before we consider spending to improve the streets.”
Saltillo City Attorney Jason Herring said the vote simply expressed the board’s interest. The next step, Herring said, would be to decide if they want to involve the community through a committee.
Herring said following that, the board needed to get an improvement priority list and determine cost and the amount of tax millage needed.
Woodcock said he would support a committee because it gets the taxpayers directly involved.
“I want to have the citizens involved in it, definitely,” Woodcock said. “If we have people who are prominent or really involved in the community who can offer their input, I am all for that.”
In Tupelo, a volunteer citizen committee appointed by the mayor with City Council approval develops five-year plans that are presented for council approval.
Brazeal, who brought the principle vote before the board, said Wednesday he likes the idea of forming a committee, but that all options are on the table.
Brazeal said funds from the thoroughfare tax would be done in phases and aimed at only street improvement, such as widening roads, not items like beautification, which the city would finance separately.
Pursuing a thoroughfare tax comes after six years of trying to get outside help from entities including the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the county and state governments.
Contact Cain Madden at (662) 678-1582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.