BY LENA MITCHELL

Daily Journal

Prioritizing projects and finding ways to pay for them were identified Thursday as the next phases for Tupelo's Drainage Task Force.

Greg Davis and Dustin Dabbs of Neel-Schaffer engineers applied soft estimates to 24 projects the task force has identified to date, giving the group a broad estimate of $12 million to $15 million to complete the projects.

"I think we're to the point of trying to prioritize, get down to the nitty gritty," Davis said at the task force meeting. "You're going to have to address the issue of which projects to keep on the list and which to take off."

One factor in ranking is gauging how many city residents will be affected by each dollar spent. Davis said he will work with city Planning Director Pat Falkner to get the numbers needed in that aspect of the decision-making.

Getting started

Widespread flooding throughout the city in an early August downpour brought the city's drainage problems to the forefront.

"I think people are ready to see something done," Mayor Larry Otis said. "So many people were impacted and they've not been able to get any help from the federal government as we had hoped. What we need to give them now is hope."

Otis will ask city Finance Director Daphne Holcombe and consultant Lynn Norris to meet with the task force in September to help them identify ways to fund the projects.

"We don't want anybody to think this money is going to replace capital projects money in the public works budget," Davis said. "Some of the smaller projects can still be done more effectively that way, and anything we build will still have to be maintained."

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