Chamber will continue Rivergate Festival
The Tunica County Chamber of Commerce is planning the 23rd annual Rivergate Festival, despite questions about whether it would continue last week during the Jan. 6 meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. The event is set for April 17 and 18.
Mayor Chuck Cariker announced that the town would struggle to financially support the festival this year. He cited defense of the lawsuit between the town and county as a primary reason. Gaming revenues have been withheld by the county for three months.
Alderman Brad Beach suggested that representatives from the Crawfish Crew be contacted to discuss options.
Year in Review: Actions by local governments dominate news
A “State of the County” report issued last February by newly appointed county administrator Michael Thompson set the tone for the entirety of 2014.
Thompson had raised the red flag about county “budget and cash flow issues” the month before.
“We are currently spending more than we’re receiving,” Thompson said in early January.
Then, during the first week of February, Thompson called the county “insolvent,” as he and the Board of Supervisors struggled to cover a reported $1.75 million deficit in the general fund.
Thompson’s February statement called for 10 percent cuts across all county departments and larger cuts to appropriations to other entities.
Road manager asks to exempt workers from county pay cuts
In the initial weeks of a five percent pay cut for most county employees, Road Department manager Joe Eddie Hawkins asked supervisors to exempt his department from the scheduled reductions.
At the January 5 meeting, Hawkins said about half of his employees were being affected by the pay cuts. [Editor’s note: county employees making less than $10 per hour are already exempt.] Hawkins said valuable employees with specific skills he needs to run his department may look for other employment if the reductions in pay continue. Hawkins said he could make up the difference to the county by other spending reductions.
“It’s a valid request,” County Board president James Dunn said Monday, but thus far, supervisors have not acted on it.
Hawkins also requested January supplies totaling approximately $39,000 – approved by the Board – and recommended that the county begin to use the Fuelman system. Hawkins said Fuelman was already used by 80 percent of Mississippi’s counties and over 70 percent of municipalities in the state.
Event to foster positive interaction with police
The events in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 have triggered emotions and reactions throughout the nation. In Tunica County, it has led to the creation of Police Encounter: How to Stay Alive.
Organizer Kenneth Davis Sr. explained that the event was born “out of compassion for the victims.”
“After the last event, Michael Brown, I felt compelled to do what police officers are trained to do, and that’s save lives by educating,” Davis said.
Police Encounter will be held at the White Oak Community Center on January 17 at 10 a.m. Davis estimates that it will last over two hours, depending on participants. It is open to ages 15 to adults.
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