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Aldermen discuss MDOT’s Bankhead Street paving committment, August 2nd

Left to right, J. Lynn West, editor of the New Albany Gazette, New Albany Mayor Tim Kent, Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert, State Representative Margaret Rogers pictured during conversation in New Albany on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, during which Tagert committed to re-paving Highway 178 through the New Albany city limits.

New Albany, MS- The New Albany Board of Aldermen discussed the repaving of Bankhead Street by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) during its August 2nd meeting.

Bankhead Street, the main business street through downtown New Albany is also Mississippi Highway 178. MDOT started work on the project last month.

Questions arose during the Tuesday night meeting as to whether MDOT had committed to repave Highway 178 from city limits to city limits or for a lesser part of its length. Mayor Tim Kent said he believed Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert had committed to repaving the full length of the highway through the city limits. Kent said he would check with MDOT to clarify the matter.

MDOT repaved Highway 178 from the eastern New Albany city limits to Highway 15 two years ago. At a meeting in New Albany on Friday, October 23, 2015, Tagert made a verbal commitment to pave Highway 178 through the rest of New Albany, i.e., to the city limits on the west side of town.The occasion was the ceremony to officially name Interstate 22, formerly Highway 178.

Following that ceremony, in response to a direct question from New Albany Gazette Editor J. Lynn West and in the presence of West, New Albany Mayor Tim Kent, State Representative Margaret Rogers and this reporter, Tagert said MDOT would complete repaving Highway 178 through the New Albany city limits.

Some reports have indicated that a highway department engineer, blaming budget constraints, has said the paving on the west side of the city would stop at the Glenfield intersection, about a quarter mile short of the western city limits of the city. That would fall short of the promise made by Commissioner Tagert.

In other business the city board approved publication of a notice for a public hearing on the city’s budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2016, and ends September 30, 2017.

As usual, city department heads made their monthly reports to the Board of Aldermen:

  • Bill Mattox, who heads New Albany Lights, Gas, and Water, said he was recommending rejecting both bids received for a new trenching machine. Mattox recommended accepting the low bid of $117,922 for a  40-foot bucket truck. The board approved both recommendations
  • Tourism and Marketing Director Sean Johnson said tourism tax and city sales tax collections were both up 2 percent over the same period last year.
  • Police Chief Chris Robertson told the board the city had received a grant of $50,589 to cover the cost of wages and overtime for a DUI enforcement officer. The board voted to accept the grant.
  • Fire Chief Steve Coker said the transmission on the pickup truck he drives needs work and he had not been able to find a local mechanic willing to take on the job of rebuilding it.. The board authorized Coker to have a new transmission put into the truck at a cost of $4,559.36, including installation.
  • Code Enforcement Officer Eric Thomas said applications for new building permits were down during July. Thomas recommended that the owners of the condemned house at 831 Forest Heights be given an additional six months to bring the property up to code, because of financing complications the owner has encountered. Thomas said new heirs have been found for the 209 Simmons Street property, which previously had been condemned. Thomas recommended that condemnation proceedings on the Simmons Street property be re-initiated so that the additional heirs may receive proper notice. The aldermen approved both of the requests from the code enforcement officer.

The board approved a correction in the claims docket for July 2016 and approved minutes for its meetings on June 7 and July 5, 2016. The next Board meeting will be on Tuesday, September 6th.

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