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West Point names interim police chief, deputy clerk


Jason Browne



WEST POINT -- During a three-hour executive session, the West Point Board of Selectmen tapped West Point Police Department Officer Bobby Lane as interim police chief and Reba Mattix as named deputy clerk. 


The West Point board voted 4-1 in August to fire former Police Chief Steve Bingham. 


Former City Clerk Robin Perry appeared before the board in executive session to ask that his letter of resignation be withdrawn. He submitted a letter of resignation last month. 


The board took no action, standing by its earlier decision to accept Perry''s letter. 


The board has not proposed a timeline for filling either position permanently. The police chief''s position pays $60,000; the city clerk''s position pays $42,000, according to the city''s Chief Administrative Officer Randy Jones. 


The selectmen also came into $2 million and made plans to spend $684,000 of it, during the Tuesday meeting. 


The city sold $1.95 million in general obligation bonds to Duncan Williams Inc. at 4-percent interest for road work or purchase of heavy equipment. 


Later in the meeting, the board approved the purchase of a backhoe, a trackhoe, a street sweeper, a truck cab and various trailers for a combined $684,000. 


The remaining funds were intended for various road projects, but some likely will be rerouted to pay for the Main Street bridge near the intersection of Main Street and Highway 45 Alternate, which began to fail three weeks ago due to rainy weather and has been closed since. 




Bridge repair 


Mayor Scott Ross said the city has looked everywhere from the National Guard to the Mississippi Department of Transportation for funding to fix the bridge, but has had no luck. 


"We''ve left no stone unturned," said Ross. 


He says MDOT won''t take on the project because the whole road would have to be raised to meet MDOT standards. 


"It falls on the city to repair this bridge," said Ross. 


Still, Phylis Benson, project coordinator with the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, has continued to search for funds on the city''s behalf. 


"The project just doesn''t fit in most funding sources," Benson told the board. 


Repairing the bridge is estimated to cost from $400,000-600,000. 


Vaughn Blaylock of Southern Procurement in West Point, the company responsible for garnering bids for the purchased equipment, suggested the city could hold reverse auctions to receive bids on the bridge and road repair just as it had on the equipment. 


The remainder of the evening was marked by executive sessions, the first of which came early in the meeting and ended with the board authorizing Ross to "execute the documents necessary to convey the Fisher Marine building to Clay County." 




Other business 


In other business the board: 


n Voted to liquidate $241,000 worth of stock left to the city under the condition it be used for the playground at East Side Elementary School. 


Susan Watts, principal of Eastside, appeared before the board requesting $143,000 from the fund to build a new playground which will be usable in wet weather. 


City Attorney Orlando Richmond asked Watts to seek additional bids for the playground construction while the city liquidated the stock, which he said the city technically is not allowed to hold. 


n Voted to declare a parcel of city-owned property on Illinois Street, close to the Public Works warehouse, as surplus and advertise the property for bid. 


n Voted to advertise for construction bids on a road project on Lone Oak Road. 





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Reader Comments

Article Comment Frank commented at 10/14/2009 12:53:00 PM:

Who is responsible for inspecting the sewers and bridges in West Point? Could these problems have been caught before they became catastrophic? Has any action been taken to avert similar problems in the future? This makes over $1,000,000.00 in infrastructure "disasters" in about a year!


Article Comment Brenda commented at 10/14/2009 8:35:00 PM:



Article Comment thomas commented at 10/17/2009 10:11:00 AM:

MDOT has stated this section of roadway is not state maintained- only city.


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