R’land aldermen spar over paving


RIDGELAND — Resurfacing roads sparked a spirited debate among aldermen after city officials proposed a budget amendment to use internet sales tax funds in Ward 6.

Aldermen ultimately approved a motion last week to designate $141,755.94 from the city's first check for online sales tax from the state to fix streets in the Montrachet neighborhood and Beau Pre Drive, which wraps around the Kroger from Lake Harbour Drive to Old Canton Road.

Public Works Director Mike McCollum said that the project would likely cost closer to $143,000, though they would have no problem finding the small difference.

The item passed 6-1, with Alderman-at-Large D.I. Smith dissenting after expressing concerns about how the roads were selected and arguing the city ought to prioritize roads "based on the process that we have in place."

"Ridgeland is great because we have great processes and procedures," Smith said. "Otherwise, you could easily have mayhem."

The "process" Smith referred to was the city recently paid for an outside study to review the five-year overlay plan.

Smith said the study cost $35,000 and thought it was disrespectful to the taxpayers in the city to disregard a system they have in place and have invested in.

Mayor Gene McGee recommended the item be approved anyway.

"I appreciate what Alderman Smith is saying," McGee said. "But there are times where we need to deviate from the plan to address problems on a street.

Ward 6 Alderman Wesley Hamlin said the streets, which are in his ward, have been in need of attention for some time, especially the roadways in Montrachet now set for overlay work.

Smith said that his disagreement was not with any individual, but that he was disappointed to see what he considered a disregard for the prioritization process.

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