June 10, 2014 10:48:21 AM
The Columbus City Council is meeting today at 1:30 p.m. to discuss its capital improvements program.
Last week councilmen approved issuing $5 million in bonds that will be used to address deficiencies in city infrastructure. The issue means a 1.1 mill increase in property taxes for city residents to finance the project. The city will pay off the loan from Mississippi Development Bank over 15 years.
Between initial discussions in late March of issuing bonds and last Tuesday's meeting, city engineering and project managing consultants have organized a list of road and drainage issues in each of the city's six wards in most need of rehabilitation. After approving the bonds, councilman Kabir Karriem called for the council to schedule a meeting where councilmen would draw from the list to determine which projects should be funded and prioritize them.
One aspect of the project that will likely be ironed out is how the money will be allocated. With about $500,000 of the $5 million being used to pay project managing, engineering and legal fees, councilmen will decide if the remaining $4.5 million will be split evenly among all six wards or dedicated toward the most urgent needs regardless of ward location. The survey made public last week has priorities listed by ward and is not broken down into citywide priority. Councilmen Marty Turner and Kabir Karriem have previously told The Dispatch that they hoped the money is used to identify and address the needs of the city as a whole, while Charlie Box said the funding should be distributed evenly throughout the wards.
The survey identifies 14 needs in Ward 1, 11 in Ward 2, 15 in Ward 3, 29 in Ward 4, 42 in Ward 5 and 14 in Ward 6. All totaled, the list identifies $6,314,030 in needed improvements, meaning some projects on the list will not be addressed with this funding.
The meeting will be held in the City Hall courtroom.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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