(Southaven, MS) Long before recent scandals hit the city of Southaven, residents and city leaders voted on a penny for parks tax for improvements including a new senior citizen’s center and community storm shelter.
However, at Tuesday night’s board meeting, Aldermen voted down the bonds to pay for the center, even though the city has been banking the tax money since 2011.
”It’s not about the senior citizens center. It’s about our disagreement on how to fund the request, so we don’t think General Obligation bonds are the way to go right now,” said Ward 2 Alderman, Ronnie Hale.
Mayor Greg Davis insists the board’s 5 to 2 vote against the bonds was personal, ”I know there’s some tension between me and the board, but it is actually a disgrace in my opinion for any elected official to allow personalities to determine. If they’ve got a reason, say the real reason."
Davis says the cash flow had been worked out for months and available for Aldermen to review.
Hale and others believe it spread the city’s finances too thin, ”If we tie ourself to this 6 1/2 percent and then we have to add more for a fire station and have to add more for projects ongoing then we have to worry about getting to our bond capacity."
Aldermen Randal Huling and Loraine Cady disagreed, and Huling even demanded a second vote, but the senior center still fell short.
”Don’t sit up there and say this is our number one project. If it’s your number one project vote yes. You can’t say it’s your number one project and say no” said Davis, who calls it a broken promise to seniors.
If you think you’ve heard the last of this argument, think again. Alderman Randal Huling has said he plans to have the senior citizens center on every board agenda between now and the end of the year.