Council approves new wards

Greenwood Commonwealth, The (MS) - Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Author: BOB DARDENStaff Writer

The Greenwood City Council approved a proposed citywide redistricting plan Tuesday that would extend Ward 3 into North Greenwood. 

The U.S. Justice Department still must approve the plan. If it does, the new ward lines won’t take effect until after the municipal elections of May 2013, according to Greenwood attorney Billy Bowman, who drafted the plan. 

The council voted 6-0 for the proposed plan. Lisa Cookston, who represents Ward 2, had to leave before the vote. 

A public hearing on the redistricting proposal was held before Tuesday’s regular council meeting, but no one spoke for or against it. 

Under the new plan, Ward 3 would include a historically white area where the black population has grown in recent years. 

Ronnie Stevenson, who represents that ward, would have to campaign in North Greenwood before actually representing constituents there. He said the situation presents a bit of a challenge. 

“It’s sort of odd, but that’s the way it is,” he said. 

Some of Stevenson’s constituents would have to cast their votes at the Youth Center on Henry Street rather than the old fire station as they have previously. Bowman said Ward 3 would be the only ward where some voters would have to go to a new precinct. 

Bowman explained that Cookston and Ward 1’s Johnny Jennings will still represent the same people they represent now until after the next municipal election. 

In other action, Greenwood Mayor Carolyn McAdams announced that the city’s tentative 2012-2013 general fund budget has been drafted. 

McAdams said the planned budget is balanced and does not rely on the use of reserve funds. 

“Anytime you’re in the black, that’s a good thing,” she said. 

The next step is holding a budget work session next week with members of the council and seeking their input, McAdams said. 

Also, Stevenson said the council will hold a closed-door meeting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at City Hall with representatives examining the possibility of selling Greenwood-Leflore Hospital. 

The sale of the hospital, which is owned jointly by the city and Leflore County, has been discussed for some time. 

Stevenson said the matter will then head to a final panel that has two representatives from the council, two from the Board of Supervisors, two members of the Hospital Board, two members of the hospital administration and two medical staff members. The panel will finalize a list of requirements to be considered prior to a sale of the hospital taking place. 

“We’re nowhere close to making a decision,” Stevenson said. 

Ward 6’s David Jordan said he wanted to hear from that panel before signing off on any sale. 

“If we are losing revenue, then we’ll look at that. If we’re staying afloat, why sell it?” he said. 

Also Tuesday, the council approved applying for a 2012 HOME Investment Partnerships Program Grant to assist low-income first-time homebuyers.