Jim Newman welcomes residents to join him at 6:30 p.m. at the Link Centre to continue crafting an alternative proposal to the city's Neighborhood Reinvestment Plan.
"We're making good progress," said Newman, a community activist and retired entrepreneur. "The last meeting was kind of, we didn't come to any conclusions other than some things that nobody liked. But we've got some proposals."
Newman had launched his effort, called the Tupelo Citizens' Task Force, on July 26 with a forum at the Link Centre. It was well attended but somewhat disorganized, which caused some city officials to dismiss its credibility. Participants had offered ideas on how to rejuvenate Tupelo, but others rambled about their personal issues with the city.
A second meeting took place Aug. 4 at All Saints' Episcopal Church. Newman said about 40-50 people remain involved in the effort.
Among the group's proposals are for the city to invest discretionary funds on improving public education from pre-kindergarten through the third grade. It also wants city leaders to create a formal advisory body to act as the City Council's sounding board.
"And I want the council to hold a public meeting before voting on the budget," Newman said.
Council President Fred Pitts said he welcomes input and ideas from the group about revitalization and the budget, but he said the council doesn't need an advisory committee and doubts it will hold a budget hearing.
"We have a timetable crunch on the budget," he said. "It's just not feasible."
The budget must be adopted by Sept. 15.
The council will hold a budget work session at 3 p.m. today. Like all meetings where a majority of members attend, it is open to the public.