June 18, 2014 10:55:37 AM
Micheal Tate's term as a member of the Columbus Light and Water Board of Directors will begin July 1.
Columbus councilmen appointed him to the board in a 3-2 vote during their meeting Tuesday. He will replace David Shelton, whose term expires June 30. Shelton, who currently serves as the board's president, has been a board member since 1999.
Five people, including Shelton, applied for the position. Shelton was the only applicant who was not considered during Tuesday's council discussions.
Councilman Gene Taylor recused himself from the vote because he has a family member who was a CL&W employee.
Kabir Karriem moved to appoint local attorney William Cunningham and received a second from Bill Gavin. The vote failed with Charlie Box, Joseph Mickens and Marty Turner opposed.
Turner then made a motion to appoint Tiffany Sturdivant, a nurse. Sturdivant previously acknowledged to The Dispatch to be a campaign manager for Turner last year, and The Dispatch reported last May that she donated $629 to Turner's campaign. Mickens seconded the motion, but Karriem made a substitute motion to appoint Troy Miller, a motion which died for lack of a second. Turner's motion to appoint Sturdivant also failed after Box, Karriem and Gavin voted against it.
Mickens then moved to appoint Tate, which Karriem seconded. Turner also voted in favor with Box and Gavin opposed.
Tate, branch manager for 1st Franklin Financial in Columbus, said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve and said he would strive to implement manageable utility payment plans for lower-income families and the elderly.
"I'm just grateful to God, the council, the mayor and those that showed confidence in me," he said. "(I want to work with) the rest of the board members to try to unify us so we can come together for the citizens in Columbus in desperate need of help with utility bills."
The five-member utility board oversees about a $52 million budget, approves all bill payments and sets policy for providing electric and water services to the city.
Other board business:
■ The council approved the city's portion of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency District 4 Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
■ The council approved a revised agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reducing the area of the premises it leases from the Corps from 208 to 78 acres.
■ The council agreed to match a $50,000 State Drug Court Advisory Committee grant with $25,000 from the city's drug court fund.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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