At last week’s November 5 meeting, the Pontotoc Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a motion to advertise for bids for the construction of a frontage road along Highway 278 four lane where city officials are hoping to lure construction of hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

“We need to go ahead and get bids in on constructing the frontage road because there is a deadline to keep for some of the grant monies which will help build the road,” Pontotoc Mayor Bob Peeples said. “One deed is in probate but everyone involved has agreed to sign once that process is completed.”

Construction to build the eight-tenths of a mile frontage road will cost around $1-million and will link Five Star Road to Highway 278.

The city will finance construction of the frontage road with city funds which will include a $300,000 grant from ARC, a $150,000 Small Municipalities grant and a $300,000 loan from Three Rivers Planning and Development District.

The city’s efforts to annex the frontage road and possible hotel location has been ongoing for many months.

In June 2019, in anticipation of annexation approval, aldermen approved an ordinance enlarging and defining the corporate limits of the city of Pontotoc to include an area a mile further on Highway 15 north to McCord Bottom, the North Ridge Estates area and Hansberger Park, which the city co-owns with Pontotoc County.

The city has filed a petition in Pontotoc County Chancery Court asking that the annexation ordinance be approved, ratified and confirmed by the court.

Pontotoc City Attorney Brad Cornelison said that a public hearing on the proposed annexation has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 19, at 9 a.m. in Pontotoc County Chancery Court Building.

According to the legal notice advertising the hearing, anyone "having objections to, or being aggrieved by said proposed extension and enlargement of the city limits are notified to appear at the hearing and present objections.”

Mayor Bob Peeples said he’s confident and hopeful that the annexation will be approved.

“There will be no averse effects from the annexation,” Peeples said. “There will be no tax increase, e have no ad valorem property tax (just school taxes), the city can afford the project and city services will be available.”

“There is tremendous growth potential out there, one hotel has already committed and other hotels and restaurants are interested.”

In one old business item aldermen approved payment of $500 to Teresa’s Yard Work for major yard cleanup at 188 North College Street. The cost of the cleanup will be applied to the property’s tax roll.

In new business, aldermen approved a motion to declare the city of Pontotoc to be in a “state of emergency” due to damage from the October 26, 2019, storm.

“This declaration will allow us to go onto private property and assist with removal of very large limbs and authorize overtime to workers affected,” Mayor Peeples said.

In another matter, aldermen unanimously approved $23,125.50 in annual funding to the Pontotoc Volunteer Fire Department. Volunteer firemen will be paid based on the number of calls they answered.

Aldermen also approved payment of $36,785.00 (best and lowest bid) to purchase a 2020 Ram 2500 crew cab from Kirk Auto Group for the city’s water department.

In keeping with the city’s annual routine of trading in excavators, aldermen declared three excavators as surplus property and authorized trade-in purchase amounts of $3,000 each for two E42 Excavators and $4,000 for one E50 Excavator.

In another matter, aldermen approved a funding grant agreement with the state which will authorize a $400,000 grant for much needed repairs to city sewer lines.

The city applied for the grant back in May (2019).

“Representative Mac Huddleston and Senator Nickey Browning were instrumental in helping us get this grant and we appreciate their help,” Mayor Peeples said. “We will have to advertise for bids and it will be first of next year before repairs begin.”

Peeples said the grant will be used to take advantage of new technology in sewer repair.

“This new technology allows for the re-lining of the old pipe with a sleeve process and will not require a lot of digging,” Peeples said. “We will get a lot more repairs done for our money.”

Consent agenda items approved included:

-Authorize and approve to pay Team Viewer for a year of service in the amount of $831.60 with the city credit card.

-Authorize and approve October 2019 payroll in the amount of $ 203,929.55.

-Authorize and approve to pay September Umpires a total of $2253.00.

-Authorize and approve Natural Gas Rates to be effective November 1, 2019 at a rate of $3.13. This rate is based on an O& M of $4.00 and a PGA of $7.13.

-Authorize and approve water adjustments.

-Authorize and approve to pay Transfer Reimbursement for patrol officer Eugen D. Betts in the amount of $854.45 to the City of Columbus.

-Authorize and approve Narcotics/K9 officer, Jake Chisholm to attend K9 Seminar and Certification Course located at MS Delta Community College Enforcement Training Academy in Moorhead, MS, November 12th – 14th, 2019 for the cost of $155.00. Travel by city vehicle. Meals and lodging included in cost.

-Authorize and approve for Randy Tutor and Bob Poe to attend Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police Winter Educational Conference in Oxford, MS on December 10th – 13th, 2019. Cost each is $325.00. Travel by city vehicle.

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