Friday, March 3, 2017

Food Fight at the 1% Sales Tax Commission

The Jackson 1% Sales Tax Commission approved a master plan Wednesday but not before the meeting exploded several times as Commissioners argued with Mayor Tony Yarber and his appointees.  The Mayor was surprised when Ted Duckworth submitted a master plan to the commission.  A furious debate ensued over whether the commissioners could submit their own master plan and what exactly is a master plan. Get a drink and some popcorn.  The master plan is posted below as well as the video.

3:00: Duckworth submits master plan to commission
4:30: The Mayor and Perry begin a heated argument.
9:00: More fun.  The words "dictator" and "lying" are used. 
13:00: I'm a simple country girl from the Mississippi Delta.
16:15: Duckworth explains master plan
23:00: The fun starts again
27:00: Mayor attacks Duckworth

Jonathan Lee and the Mayor get into it at 5:30 in Part 2. 

Some highlights of the master plan are:

1. The Commission will review all previously approved projects and either submit to city for approval or remove from list of approved projects

2. The Commission can amend the list during the year as needed.

3. Funds will be used as matching dollars to obtain funding from other programs (such as federal grants) when it meets the plan's priorities.

4.  50% of the funds shall be spent on road improvements unless the commission decides otherwise.

5.  1% funds can be only be spent on infrastructure projects.  It can not be used for experimental programs, mentoring programs, public relations, or other programs not approved by the committee.  (One city-appointed commissioner raised hell over this restriction.)

6.  Debt obligations that are repaid with 1% funds must be approved by the commission.  Any project that will be funded from the loan must be approved by the commission. 

7. Commission retains right to hire a construction manager.  The commission will determine his role and duties.

Section #6 generated fireworks as Mr. Perry and Mayor Yarber argued over the use of the master plan to restrict the city's ability to use 1% funds to repay loans.*

The Mayor wanted to present the master plan and the administration's proposed master plan to a committee but the Commission refused to do so.  The vote was 5-3-1.

Kingfish note: Comments on social media seemed to break down along racial lines.  However, there is another dynamic at play here.  One divide seems to be between appointees from the private sector and appointees from the government.

The dispute over whether the commission can approve the use of the 1% funds to be used to repay a $90 million loan is interesting.  The code section (posted below) clearly gives the City Council the authority to securitize the funds for a loan.  However, section (h) states the funds can be spent by the city council "if the expenditures comply with the master plan".  It is a safe bet that the commissioners arguing for this master plan contend that the actual master plan is controlling and thus can be used to control the expenditures. 

*Section 27-65-241 of the Mississippi Code states:

(h) The commission shall, with input from the municipality, establish a master plan for road and street repair, reconstruction and resurfacing  projects based on traffic patterns, need and usage, and for water, sewer and drainage projects. Expenditures of the revenue from the tax authorized to be imposed pursuant to this section shall be made at the discretion of the governing authorities of the municipality if the expenditures comply with the master plan. The commission shall monitor the compliance of the municipality with the master plan.

(8) The governing authorities of any municipality that levies the special sales tax authorized under this section are authorized to incur debt, including bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness, for the purpose of paying the costs of road and street repair, reconstruction and resurfacing projects based on traffic patterns, need and usage, and to pay the costs of water, sewer and drainage projects in accordance with a master plan adopted by the commission established pursuant to subsection (7) of this section. Any bonds or notes issued to pay such costs may be secured by the proceeds of the special sales tax levied pursuant to this section or may be general obligations of the municipality and shall satisfy the requirements for the issuance of debt provided by Sections 21-33-313 through 21-33-323.


Anonymous said...

I want to formally apologize (anonymously of course) to the citizens of Jackson for voting for Yarber. It wont happen again.

Mayor of Kushville said...

As if Antar would be any better. Mark my words, a year of Junior will have you crying for the "good old days" of Yarber.

And it's gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious to me that not one member of the commission knows what they are doing.

That is the main reason that I think the City of Jackson will never recover from it's own stupidity. We desperately need a seasoned city manager that has been thoroughly investigated and is ready to do what ever it takes to get this city turned around. There is no hope without knowledge !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the 1% tax and you get rid of the babysitter (Commission). Jackson, wake the f@#k up!!!!! Control your own! Vote for competent leaders with the experience and education to get the work done.

Anonymous said...

Pete Perry is a text book heart attack candidate

Anonymous said...

Looks like a good plan. It takes the patronage out of it. Politicians will politicize everything.

Jackson Remnant said...

Thank you, Mr. Duckworth and Mr. Perry.

Judy K. Morris said...

It shows what "Bafoons" we have running our government. I can't believe that I had voted for Yarber. I won't make that mistake again. As for the commission, nothing will ever get done. The 1% sales tax was to be for the water system under our streets and then you repair the streets. Where they have spent last year's $15,000,000, they just did overlays. I have driven over streets in Northeast Jackson which should have been completely dug up. They just did overlay and the streets are already starting to sink again. Typical. I don't know if there is any hope for Jackson with the incompetence that the citizens keep voting back in. The "Swamp Needs to be Drained". I have lived in Jackson over 42 years and plan to stay but my heart is saddened on how the majority population has destroyed this city. They are only hurting themselves by doing so.

Anonymous said...

This whole dilemma is: Should non-elected persons have control over tax money? Project Management does not protect the tax payer; it is a rip-off. This commission believes they are better than elected officials and perhaps some of them are. They cannot dictate to elected officials who to hire either as personnel or as design professionals. They can make it miserable enough to force certain ideas. The master plan has always been a bone of contention and it boils down to power and control. We, the citizens and tax payers of Jackson, just want them to all settle down and do the needed work and do it right. Lists and plans are good, but nothing substitutes for spending the dollars where they are needed most. On public works, nothing past 5 years is valid in a plan.

Kingfish said...

Jackson was at its best when the business community and politicians worked together. The airport and Rez were prime examples of that cooperation.

The business experience and intelligence of the commissioners is much higher than the last four city councils combined. People bitch that they are not elected. Well, look at what you've been electing to run the city. Hasn't exactly turned out that great, has it.

The first problem is that the council and Mayor see the commission as somewhat illegitimate. They don't want it around, they don't respect it, and wish it would go away. IMS does a piss-poor job of keeping the commission informed.

As for the Mayor's main antagonist, Mr. Perry. The Commissioner has spent the last few weekends riding the roads of South Jackson and inspecting the bridges. He probably has made more of an effort than anyone on that commission (besides the engineer) to know this stuff backwards and forwards. The problem is he comes off as abrasive all too often. He cuts them off and speaks up and hurts what are often valid points. What happens is people pay more attention to how he says something than what he is actually saying.

Jacksonians should see the commission members as resources to help them. These guys all want to see Jackson succeed. They want to see Jackson do well. They all live in Jackson. It does not do Duckworth or Ditto's State Street Group any good for Jackson to decline even further.

As I stated, while some of you see a division of race on that commission, what I see is a division between the private sector and government and two different ways of thinking.

Anonymous said...

They just did overlay and the streets are already starting to sink again.

They overlaid one habitual water pipe break point in NEJackson. The pipe has broken and leaked in that spot too many times to count over the past decade. Within two weeks of laying down the fresh asphalt, BOOM, pipe break and they're digging up the new surface.

The twelve-letter word that best comes to mind. INCOMPETENCE.

Anonymous said...

They don't want it around, they don't respect it, and wish it would go away.

They just want the damn money to spend and squander.

Anonymous said...

A few observations...

Clearly, Yarber is finished. Not sure why he is fighting anyone at this point. He is wasting his breath. He needs to go back to chasing chicks, and leave business matters to those who understand, and can develop a workable plan of action.

City officials don't want oversight because it is a babysitting group designed to ensure no one from city squanders the money. What adult wants babysitting. No one! But, unfortunately, this group of city leaders need babysitting, and oversight to ensure they don't get enticed to steer into stupid decisions. The city should be grateful we have babysitters in place who are volunteering their time to help. This oversight commission is akin to a breathalyzer test on cars that won't allow you to drive when drunk.

Lastly, Kingfish...thank you for what you do, but I have to tell you. Reading your blog makes me want to move away from here more and more. I may need a break from reality (your blog) and put my head in the "it's all going to be ok" clouds.

Anonymous said...

I watched the video and have seen Pete Perry explain things which are quite complicated very effectively.

I don't know how he is paid or who pays him or why he does what he does....he seems to have the patience of Job.

For whatever reasons you do it...thanks for helping explain these things and for trying to actually help the city of Jackson.

Pete Perry - not the imposter above said...

IMPOSTER at 3:36. That was not me. KF, you should take down the comment unless the real commentator wants to accept it as his. I am plenty able to speak for myself.

My comment will be addressed to Judy Morris, and others. Ms. Morris, there was nothing that says the money was "to be for replacing the water lines, and then repaving the streets." Don't know where you got that, but there is absolutely nothing to say that was the purpose.

In fact, in 2015 the city recommended to the commission that we not spend 1% money for replacing water lines because water and sewer has a funding source (the water/sewer enterprise fund) and that roads, bridges and drainage structures don't have a funding source.

Of course, what has happened since then is that the city is not collecting water bills, allowing straight piping to continue without penalty, allowing customers to not pay their bills, and invoicing customers totally unsupportable bills due to incompetence in billing. So now the water system does not have a supportable income stream.

The commission has adopted a policy that said we were not going to pave streets where the underlying utilities (water, sewer and/or storm drainage) needed replacing -- unless the street was in such bad shape that it needed immediate resurfacing before it was possible to replace the utilities.

Has that been followed? Actually, no. For those that want to question the streets that were resurfaced this year, and question the fact that there were existing leaks - you should check to see why that happened. The list of streets that were resurfaced were determined by the city, not by the commission. A list was given to the commission in March 2016 which we questioned as to its completeness. The commission questioned why some streets were not considered and some of those were added, but very few.

The problem is, at least in my opinion, that there is little consideration given to prioritization of expenditures by the city. That is what the commission is supposed to do - and with this new plan in place will be what should occur from this point forward.

Will we use input from the city public works department to help determine where the needs are? Absolutely. But no longer will I agree to accept a list without seeing the area first - so that we will not pave cul-de-sacs with four rental houses; or a circular street with 20 houses where 14 are either vacant, boarded up, or burned out. Idiocy at its finest. Hate that it happened.

And for everyone that wants to bitch about our process, help yourself. The pay is so good for serving on that commission that I don't really care. I think it is fair to say that those of us that serve on the commission that are not drawing a paycheck from this administration are doing it so that we can help to save Jackson, keep the limited tax dollars from being wasted, and take care of some priority items. And from now on, it will be a trust, but verify, approach on future expenditures.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, to The Real Pete Perry! Your service is appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Looks like tony tony tony knew the camera was on and wanted to pick a fight so he had someone to blame.…ole Pete and his cronies. He can now go into the campaign mode and tell the "majority" in Jackson that he is standing up to whitey and it's their fault…and he'll point to the video as evidence.

It should be noted that the commission is just doing their job. Wish we more fiscally conservative folks in charge

Go Pete go! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Pete, you CANNOT SAVE Jackson!!!!!!! Nor can this commission! Jackson can only be saved via gentrification, when PRIVATE investors and developers come into Jackson with PRIVATE capital and investments. Until then, please continue with your babysitting job.

Gentrification = New Monies = New People = New Mayor and City Council = New Laws and Ordinances

Anonymous said...

My head is hurting after listening to Yarbrough.

He is a 30 mile an hour brain in a 100 mile an hour car.

Pappy Odaniel said...

What in the hell is with the Pete Perry fanboy outbreak. Pete Perry is an old timey white Democrat fixer. Yes, I said Democrat...the Thad crowd tags fled to the Republican Party in the late 60's. He is the last vestige of the Eastland/ PL Blake crowd that did nothing for this state but ride roughshod for their own interests. Just because he's being a jackass to Yarber doesn't make him a hero...he'd be a jackass to anyone else standing between him and the interests of those that put him on the board. There are no good guys here.

Anonymous said...

God bless Pete Perry and Ted Duckworth for having the patience and desire to fight this fight for the good of Jackson. Also, I swear Antar wouldn't be as awful as Yarber.

If Yarber would simply attempt to lead on any issue he may could have succeeded. What a waste of four years.

Anonymous said...

Pete, I think Judy's point is that it doesn't make good sense to repave or replace a road when it's going to have to be dug up to fix the water/sewer lines. I suspect she thinks insuring the children of Jackson drink clean water trumps the aggravation of replacing tires.
I don't doubt your recitation of the " rules" but some of us, and here I can't speak for Judy, think some rules are obstacles to progress either unintentionally or on purpose. A good system is flexible so that it can respond to unknowns.
I appreciate that you have taken the time to drive the roads to be paved and perhaps that should be a requirement for everyone involved. But, I would also suggest that you diplomatically, co-ordinate with the water/sewer people to identify where the lines are the worst and most likely not to last long. And, I'd like both your commission and the water/sewer people to focus on high traffic roads and population density in your decision making.
I'd like for there to be less of an adversarial attitude on the part of the commission and the city officials. Frankly, I have not noticed that either of you are without fault or all knowing. Both " sides" are guilty of political bias coloring your judgment and seizing the political opportunities to bash one another.
None of us are good at knowing what we don't know. Most of us do the best we can based on what we know. You might try to assume that of the water/sewer employees and find out what is hampering the efforts. If their are employees deliberately doing wrong, that is how you identify those people and weed them out. That is a strategy you and the mayor should agree is necessary. I would say to you and the mayor, casting blame and anger is not solving problems, it's putting you both on the defensive.
I agree with Judy that our water should be a priority and that the legislature, in it's lack of wisdom, doesn't seem share that view for any city. Aging systems is a national problem.
The political moves to try to take over rather than to lead and to spend tax dollars to reinvent the repairable wheel with a new wheel your party "owns", is rather telling when either side does it. Indeed, spending tax dollars to benefit supporters rather than to tend to basic responsibilities to the entire state is bad politics as usual whether it's done by Democrats in Jackson or Republicans at the State level. You both seem to want to be as bad as the worst of the other party and then say, " they did it too and y'all decide who is worse".
It's really easy to find fault in others. I strongly suggest that all parties involved ask themselves how they might be contributing to the problems we have. All parties should have the same goal and be on the same side, improving our capitol city as efficiently and painless as possible! This game playing done by both sides is not attractive and is extremely dysfunctional. We need better listeners and fewer " right fighters" and loads more humility from all those in political positions of authority!

Anonymous said...

Good LORD. Between the droning granny troll here at JJ and Lynn Evans' semi-regular barfing in the Ledger Jackson is F*^ked.

Anonymous said...

Look, I know the pipes below the street are more important, but that problem is too large to fix at this time, with the limited resources available. Please remember this....perception is greater than reality. Due to condition of roads, people don't want to stay here, or move here. People see and remember the streets, and those need fixing now. Then, a 20 year plan can be implemented to replace water/sewer lines. City 1% funds is a small drop in the bucket of what it will take to fix.

Anonymous said...

Big water pipe break in front of River Hills this morning. The reality far exceeded the perception.

Anonymous said...

City should've fixed weeks ago were first reported

Anonymous said...

Kingfish reminds us of the good days when government and business worked in concert together to accomplish the airport and reservoir. Was he living here then? Was he even born yet?

Anonymous said...

No, KF wasn't here then. But just like how one can know about the Great Roman Empire, the Crusades, the Revolution, Great War, depression, etc - and know how things worked or didn't work during those times before he was born - I assume he is able to read accounts of them. It isn't that hard. Try it sometimes. Might make your comments, here or just when popping a top with friends, be worth paying some attention to.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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