CATEGORY: ALD Tupelo City Council


HED:Safer city group schedules town meeting

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

Tupelo's Safer City Task Force has called a town meeting for Nov. 6 to get citizens' input into ways to improve city safety.

The public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in room 5 on the west side of the Tupelo Coliseum. Citizens will be given up to three minutes to speak, or they may file recommendations in writing with the task force.

Officials said they are looking for suggestions and recommendations covering a broad range of concerns and coming from a broad spectrum of the citizenry.

"In finding out how to make Tupelo a safer city we have to go beyond our 17-member task force," Jeff Snyder, task force chairman, said at a Monday press conference.

Task force secretary Steve Mayhorn said the panel has drawn a partial list of problems and possible solutions, but wants public input to determine other areas that may need to be addressed.

"Maybe our concerns are the same as theirs. But maybe they have concerns we haven't thought of," he said.

The task force is studying issues across the board, including police protection, fire control, traffic plights, emergency responses, and personal security, according to Jennifer Johnson, a member of the city's staff and the task force.

For instance, the task force is particularly concerned about reducing teen idleness by providing various activities, and members hope teen-agers will attend the session to offer insights and suggestions.

"That's also a part of safety," Johnson said. "If they don't have anything to do, that can cause problems, too."

The panel is also soliciting input from people who live outside the city, but who come into town to visit, shop or work, Mayhorn said.

"A safer Tupelo is everybody's problem and everybody's concern," said Tom Hewitt, task force vice chairman. "We've got to stay open to suggestions. There's only one way of knowing what the concerns are, and that's by giving people a forum in which to express those concerns."

The Safer City Task Force is one of three citizen groups formed by the mayor and City Council in September to tackle problems facing the city and to recommend solutions.

Hewitt said the task force hopes to produce an action plan within six to nine months. But officials noted that probably won't end the group's work.

"There's going to be new problems come up. As they do, we'll address them," Snyder said.

"The small items they (the council) can address right away. Then there will be other things ... that will take a lot of time."

What: Town meeting.

When: Thursday, Nov. 6., at 6 p.m.

Where: Room 5 on the west side of the Tupelo Coliseum.

Why: To get citizens' input into ways to improve city safety.

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