Tupelo Council faces full, final meeting

I'm a journalist focused on government, policy, politics and people.
I find what matters and bird dog it like nobody's business.

By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – From updating Tupelo’s development code to formalizing a key part of the West Jackson Street revitalization project and making key appointments, Mayor Jack Reed Jr. and the Tupelo City Council show no sign of slowing down as the current administration enters its final days.
Reed and the city council have a full plate of the city’s business heading into today’s council meeting, the last scheduled before the new mayor and council take office July 1.
Ward 2 councilman Fred Pitts, council president during each of his four years in office, said the administration will leave office handling important matters, just like throughout the term.
Pitts said the current group of council members have the knowledge and insight gained through many work sessions to make them the most qualified to decide whether to approve the proposed development code, aimed at giving flexibility to commercial and residential regulations and rules; and approving an agreement to allow the nonprofit Neighborhood Development Corp. to have a lead role in the residential redevelopment project in the West Jackson Street area.
Many council members have attended weeks of work sessions and will make final decisions on key city policy at this evening’s final council meeting. Pitts said this group has kept a heavy load throughout the term and has no plans to stop until it ends.
“That’s the way this council has been,” he said. “We’re going to go out like a lion.”
The council also likely willrecommend Waste Management as the preferred vendor for a six-year contract for trash and recycling pickup. Selecting from among three companies for the lucrative city contract, council members decided to stick with Waste Management, which has had the city contract for waste pickup for decades.
Ward 6 councilman Mike Bryan, who did not attend Monday’s agenda review, has not said whether he will vote on the trash pickup contract. He accepted a $250 political contribution from Waste Management earlier this year.
As part of Reed’s efforts for a smooth mayoral transition, he invited Mayor-elect Jason Shelton to Monday’s meeting. Reed did not seek re-election, while Shelton defeated Pitts in the June 4 mayoral election. Lynn Bryan, who will replace Pitts representing Ward 2 on the council, also attended.
As Reed ends his term, he won’t leave many vacant positions on city commissions, authorities and committees. He will appoint or reappoint seven positions today.
Only two committee vacancies will remain – one on the Oren Dunn Museum Advisory Board and another on the mayor’s quality of life task force, a vacancy Shelton will create when he moves to the mayor’s office.
“I’ll let him handle that one,” Reed said.
robbie.ward@journalinc.com