Candidate slate final for November ballot
Last Friday’s qualifying deadline settled some races for county offices; some will be decided in August after the party primaries; and a few will wait until the November general election.
Forty-four Tunica Countians have qualified to seek 16 county offices, 23 of those in the race for the five posts on the Board of Supervisors.
UPDATE: The Democratic Executive Committee has removed several candidates from the list of qualifiers. They will meet again on Wednesday, March 11 to hear appeals from those candidates.
There are incumbents in each of the 16 offices, except in supervisor’s District 2, where incumbent Cedric Burnett first qualified and later withdrew, opting to run instead for the state legislative seat that is currently held by his mother Clara Burnett.
Incumbents who are unopposed and therefore assured of re-election are: Chancery Clerk Rechelle Siggers, Tax Assessor Norma Anderson, Southern District Constable Lil Joe Anderson, Coroner Glenn Grant, and County Attorney Chuck Graves.
Fire departments seeking county funding
The subject of fire protection in Tunica County has dominated discussion at back to back supervisors’ meetings this week and late last week.
Both the North Tunica County Fire District and the Tunica Volunteer Fire Department are asking the county board to appropriate funds for each department.
North Tunica Fire District commissioner Stanley Jones of Robinsonville and Fire Chief Jimmie Neal told supervisors on February 26 that the district needs an additional $120,000 to avoid a budget shortfall this year.
County claims as of Feb. 2, 2015
The claims docket approved by Tunica County Board of Supervisors on February 2 totaled $4,742,863.57. It is unclear whether checks have been written and mailed for all the invoices.
Board cuts monthly expenses by $120,000 per month
County administrator Michael Thompson floated an idea for new revenue on February 12 – an extra tax on gaming devices – but for now, supervisors say they want to wait.
Thompson said many gaming jurisdictions in Mississippi collect a $150 annual tax per gaming device that could generate $1.2 million to $1.5 million in new revenue for the cash-strapped county.
“Is there a negative impact?” District 4 supervisor Henry Nickson asked.
“With declining property values and possible casino closures, I’m not a fan,” Thompson said.
“We just added three mills (see related story) to the Fire District,” Board president James Dunn commented, also noting that water and sewer rates are going up. “Gaming will end up paying most of that cost.”
“The Board had a letter from the Gaming Commission asking (the county) not to put on additional taxes and fees,” Board attorney Ellis Pittman noted.
“Should we have that just for precautions? We could at least have it on the books,” Nickson then said.
“We want the casinos to thrive,” Dunn replied, saying that the casinos would either pay taxes or invest in marketing the Tunica County resort properties. “Marketing brings tourists and generates gaming taxes.
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