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franklin county times

Officials to make another run at subdivision incentives

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
June 20, 2001
City leaders today will ask the Meridian Planning Commission to reconsider its rejection of an incentives package designed to promote residential development.
In May the commission rejected the incentives package presented by the Community Development Department (CDD). The incentives would have saved developers money by offering an initial property tax break for subdivision development and also set up a fund through which the city would pay for water and sewer infrastructure in new subdivisions.
At a planning commission work session today, Community Development director Don Jemison said he will seek a specific blueprint of how to revise the package so it will meet the commission's approval and, ultimately be adopted by the city council.
The commission's work session is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Employee Council Room at City Hall. Although the commission cannot take any formal action during a work session Jemison is hoping to make headway on the matter and have a new proposal in place by next week's regular meeting.
Defends actions
The request for specifics comes after the planning commission members were vague in their reasons for denouncing the package initially. Some commission members said they didn't like the way the water and sewer infrastructure was going to be available on a first come first serve basis.
One commission member suggested perhaps a more fair way to dole out the infrastructure funding was to "draw names from a hat."
Planning commission chairman Jenifer Buford, who called the work session, said the commission members "just want the city to explain it in more detail."
At the time the package was rejected, Buford said commission members didn't have an opportunity to properly evaluate the merits of the plan.
Buford later conceded that commission members received copies of the proposal several days before the May meeting.
A need for reform?
The commission's rejection of the city plan has already come under heavy fire from Donnie Massey, a Meridian resident and president of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi.
Massey characterized the passage of such an incentives package as "common sense" and said he didn't understand the commission's rejection.
Jemison said immediate action is needed to spark new residential growth in city.
Although Massey said he will be out of town for today's meeting he is hopeful for some positive movement on the issue.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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