At the October 1 board meeting Pontotoc Aldermen unanimously passed a motion to form a “Complete Count Committee (CCC) aimed at supporting efforts to count all Pontotoc residents in next year’s 2020 United States Census.

The board passed that motion after hearing from U.S. Census Partnership Specialist Rachaelle Pounds who stressed the importance of the Complete Count Committee.

“Your leadership and influence in supporting next year’s census is very important because so much federal funding is tied to the population figures,” Pounds encouraged. “Over $675 billion is distributed to state and local governments using Census numbers and that includes over $4-trillion over the past decade.”

“The best way to ensure an accurate count in the 2020 Census is through formation of a Complete Count Committee whose job it will be to encourage participation in the Census in Pontotoc,” Pounds said. “A committee of well known, trustworthy community leaders can develop an outreach plan to reach all Pontotoc residents, including Hispanic and other minorities.”

Pontotoc Mayor Bob Peeples said Pontotoc’s Complete Count Committee will include 12 members.

“Each of the five alderman will select two folks on the committee and the mayor’s office will select two members,” Peeples said.

“We wholeheartedly support formation of this committee and I cannot overemphasize the importance of everyone working together to get each and every citizen of Pontotoc counted during the 2020 census,” Peeples stressed. “Our Congressional representation is based on our state’s population and we need every voice in Washington we can get.”

“And billions of dollars of federal grants are based on population and income and we’re asking each citizen to help us get everyone counted and that includes our growing Hispanic communities. We want your tax dollars to come back and help us in Pontotoc.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, 74 percent of households in the United States filled out and mailed back their 2010 Census questionnaire.

In Mississippi, 69 percent of households mailed back theirs.

In other business, Old Airport Road resident John Russell told aldermen he would finance the cost of expanding city water service to his new home which is about seven-tenths of a mile from the water line.

City water officials told Russell the expansion would have to be engineered and approved by the State Department of Health.

In another matter, no opposition was voiced during a public hearing to decide construction of a fence at Oaks Subdivision, so aldermen approved construction of the fence by resident Jamie Burrell.

In another hearing no opposition was voiced, so aldermen approved a motion to rezone Bill Wardlaw’s property at 2017 Highway 15 North from C-1 to R-8.

Aldermen approved a motion to move the public hearing for a horse variance for Harvest Time Church, located at 218 West Eighth Street, to October 15, 2019, as printed in the paper.

Aldermen also approved plans for Fortino and Guadalupe Cantor to build Las Palmas Restaurant, which will be located at 284 Turn Pike Road.

In a new business matter, aldermen approved the hiring of two new Pontotoc Police officers, including Eugene D. Betts and Zachary S. Holloway, as part officers for an hourly rate of $18.22 effective October 14, 2019.

Assistant Police Chief Bob Poe said that Betts has been a member of the Columbus Police Department since March 2017 and Holloway is a 2009 graduate of Pontotoc High School and has worked for the Amory Police Department since June 2018.

The board also approved the promotion of police officers Kurtis N. Gregory, Gregg Bedford and William Golding to the rank of sergeant at a pay increase from $20.34 to $20.61, effective October 14, 2019.

Aldermen also approved the transfer of officer Jake Chisholm from shift sergeant to narcotics investigator at a pay rate of $20.34, a decrease from $20.61. Chief Randy Tutor said that Chisholm joins Sgt. Gregg Bedford, who is also a narcotics investigator.

Aldermen also approved to advertise for sealed bids for the Behold Washington roof rehabilitation project.

The board voted to increase the charge amount for customers to move an existing gas meter on the same property from $55 to $175 for the first 200 feet and $2.50 per foot for each additional foot. The increase becomes effective November 1, 2019.

By a vote of 4-1 the board approved a motion to purchase an asphalt patch trailer for the street department from Covington Sales, Inc. for $49,995.00.

Mayor Peeples said the patch machine can utilize cold or hot mix and also has the means of treating and heating recycled milling. The trailer has a four ton capacity and comes with work lights and flashing lights.

Alderman David White voted against the motion.

“I talked with someone who uses that same asphalt patch machine and they said it doesn’t work well with recycled asphalt,” White expressed. “My concern is that for the money we could buy something that works better.”

In a Pontotoc Fire Department matter, aldermen approved a motion to change the following firefighters pay based on a new pay structure that was approved in the FY20 budget. Effective immediately the pay rates of Bradley White and Jeremy Maxey are increased from $14.70 to $15.00, and the rates of firemen Josh Ray, Jarrod Duff, Chris Golden, Bradd Ball, Floyd White and Jake Bramlett are increased from $13.50 to $14.25.

Consent agenda matters approved included:

-Reimburse Veronica Long in the amount of $117.25 for room and meals that she paid during her mandatory clerk training in Biloxi on Sept. 10-13, 2019;

-September 2019 payroll and comp checks the amount of $306,177.97;

-Pay September umpires a total of $360.00;

-Natural gas rates effective October 1, 2019, at a rate of $7.05, which is based on an O&M of $4.00 and a PGA $3.05;

-water adjustments.

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