Mayor-elect discusses opportunities for cityBy PAT BROWN,
Before long, there will be a new face in the mayor’s office, the face of Dale Berry.
Before being swore in, Berry dropped by the office to give us a couple of goals he has developed.
The number one item on his list is the creation of new jobs in Magee.
“We must get aggressive in recruiting new businesses,” he said, “and one of the things I hear too often is that there are already a lot of fast food places and we don’t need any more of those.” Berry says his response is, “We will be happy to get any type of business that is willing to locate in Magee because it creates additional sales tax. This will help with the building of new homes.”
He said one of the problems the city has now is that Magee has too many apartments and that there need to be more homes that will provide more tax dollars which will allow more services to be made available to residents.
Berry said he had spoken with the city engineer and one area that must have attention is the roads. He specifically mentioned the downtown area, because he wants to attract more business downtown.
He mentioned that Lacye Evans of Alfa Insurance is planning a building downtown which may have residential opportunities on an upper floor. He said that Wayne Hilton, owner of Magee Rentals, had purchased property to develop downtown residential options.
Berry discussed other business opportunities for the city, specifically a possibility of a Buffalo Wings franchise, which he said could be a great opportunity for Magee that was currently being discussed as a possibility.
The mayor-elect says he feels that with the asset of Highway 49 the city needs to be looking at more ways to capitalize on retail development.
He said that the sportsplex is really drawing big crowds and in turn creating a lot of opportunity when the city hosts ball tournaments.
The splash pad had started a little slow from a participation standpoint, Berry said, but the City of Morton also had the same experience. He said Magee’s leadership is looking at the possibility of paving the area, which would give better access and in turn create more traffic.
Berry said he is concerned about the state of disrepair and lack of maintenance of some residences in Magee. He plans to attend workshops to determine how to enforce existing codes and adopt additional codes to maintain property.
Berry says he has divested himself of much of the rental property he and his family had owned and operated over the years.
Another of Berry’s goals is to expand the city limits of Magee with an annexation of Copiah Lincoln Community College, the Simpson County Country Club and Old Magee. He said these areas would be beneficial to future development of the city. He said the city could offer law enforcement, fire protection and garbage service, but that they would have to look at the long term cost of water and sewer expenses.
He said he had talked with several residents of the Old Magee neighborhood who had expressed an interest in being annexed. He said they would compensate for the cost of being part of the city from the savings on property insurance.
Berry said he wants to have an open door for people who want to know what is going on with the city. With the mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting on the first and third Tuesday of each month, he wants to be more resident-friendly and said he would encourage citizens to be given the opportunity to ask questions during the business session as well as during comment period for the board.
He said it is his intention for work sessions to be open to everyone.
“If someone pays taxes they have the right to know how and why city money is being spent,” he said.