TUPELO COUNCIL EYES NEW CITY HALL FUNDING

CATEGORY: ALD Tupelo City Council

AUTHOR: MOULDE

TUPELO COUNCIL EYES NEW CITY HALL FUNDING

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

Tupelo’s City Council will be asked tonight to vote its intent to issue up to $9 million in bonds to fund construction of a new City Hall complex.

The proposed three-story 60,000-square-foot structure was recommended by a citizens task force formed almost two years ago to study the city government’s space needs. City offices are currently dispersed to several locations and space has become tight.

The task force recommended that the complex be located on the south side of Main Street between Commerce and Front streets, using a part of the old fairgrounds property.

Task Force chairman Jack Reed Sr. will present the panel’s findings to the City Council tonight. The council will meet at 6 p.m. at the City Hall Annex on Court Street.

Administration officials say the complex can be funded without a tax increase. Estimated costs include $7 million for construction and $2 million for property acquisition and professional fees. That does not include the cost for furnishing the building.

The complex would house all the city’s departments except the Public Service’s and Water and Light’s maintenance and storage facilities.

Three financing options include issuing $9 million in general obligation bonds; issuing $7 million in bonds and using $2 million from the city’s reserve fund; or guaranteeing certificates of participation through which investors would fund the structure and the city would buy it over time.

Officials say early payments on the bonds or other debt could be met from the general fund. As current bond issues are paid off the freed revenues could be pledged to pay off the new bonds.

In other action, the council is scheduled to discuss Mayor Jack Marshall’s appointment of a temporary deputy police chief, an appointment made without council input and originally wrapped in a more imposing title.

C.C. Privette, a 66-year-old chiropractor and friend of the mayor’s, was named by Marshall to fill the position of “police commissioner” on March 11. But the city had no police commissioner post, sparking council members to charge that Marshall had created a new job without their concurrence.

Marshall later switched Privette’s title to deputy chief, a post at least temporarily vacated by Jerry Crocker, who was promoted to interim police chief when Chief Billy White resigned Feb. 29.

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