Tupelo mayor, council prepare for goal-setting

Tupelo StockBy Robbie Ward
Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo City Council members and Mayor Jason Shelton spent nine and a half hours together Thursday learning about community partners, organizations and details of city departments, all part of the first day of a city retreat that continues today at Tombigbee State Park.

Some city department heads played videos explaining their work, others gave quick descriptions of their role in city government, and others used the opportunity to suggest the council create another position in their department.

Tupelo elected officials sat through 20 presentations from city department heads, others from organizations in the city such as the Community Development Foundation and the Tupelo Public School District.

The day-long interactions were designed as a crash course to show what resources Tupelo offers as a community but also as a reminder of what resources are available to help the city achieve goals.

Shelton said the day of whirlwind presentations left a strong impression about the quality of individuals in the community working to improve it.

“It’s hard not to feel good about the city,” Shelton said. “It’s been a long day and a really good one.”

For first-time elected officials like councilman Buddy Palmer of Ward 5, the day-long session offered more insight into the reach of municipal government and organizations to assist through partnerships.

“This is very important, especially for a new councilman,” he said.

Listening to department heads and leaders of other organizations proved helpful for more experienced elected officials. Council President Nettie Davis asked CDF President David Rumbarger to consider helping the city identify other communities who have successfully faced similar neighborhood redevelopment efforts like what has begun in Tupelo.

Tupelo development services head BJ Teal told the group that $175,000 has been collected from code enforcement of rental property in the city. Ward 7 councilman Willie Jennings said he’d like the City Council to fund more code enforcement officers to help enforce standards in the city.

After hearing Thursday about people, organizations and other resources available, Tupelo elected leaders will return to Tombigbee State Park today to work on finding shared goals the group can work toward achieving during the next four years.
robbie.ward@journalinc.com