Sunday, July 16, 2017

Priester: "numbers are pretty rough"

Jackson Ward 2 City Councilman Melvin Priester, Jr. posted this update on city affairs on his Facebook page:

For the last several weeks, Facebook has been uncooperative. It's still a little buggy on Desktop but I'm hopeful that I'm finally back in business.

A few days ago at the gym, someone asked me a really interesting question. They asked "how long should a citizen wait for results from the new mayor?".

I responded by noting that there are certain measures where you should start expecting results fairly quickly. For example, the team the mayor puts in place around himself is an immediate measure of accountability. Is he appointing good, qualified people? 
The City budget is another area where the new administration is going to be put to the test fairly quickly. We had the third quarter budget review yesterday and the numbers are pretty rough on both the sales tax front and the water/sewer revenue front. If I was a city watcher, I'd pay a lot of attention to the next two months. Ending the furlough is do-able but made much harder given the decline in sales tax revenue and also the problems facing the parks and recreation department. It's going to take some deft management to get us through and I really hope we can get through the next months without the rancor of past years.

After the financial/budget strategy is set, the fall is going to be spent focused on getting ready for the Legislative season at the top of 2018 and hopefully putting new management approaches in place. At the same time, the fall and early 2018 is when the foundation really needs to be in place to put good programming in place esp. regarding crime and economic development. If there aren't some specific moves announced regarding, for example, violence prevention and economic development by that point, that's when I would get concerned as a citizen. I expect criminal justice to be a big issue over the next few months not only because of the general issue of there being too much crime but also because the Hinds County Detention Center issues and the change to having a set of uniform rules for criminal procedure are a perfect storm that are going to force us to front burner criminal justice issues in Jackson and Hinds County.

So, in sum, I think there are some immediate areas like the budget and personnel where citizens should expect to see the Mayor quickly make his distinct mark or at least show his specific approach. There's also a certain "walk before you run" that's going to be key and should emerge in the fall once people get in place (lookin' at you water billing situation and potholes). If the right foundational work is laid this summer and fall though, I hope to start really digging into the key changes and hopefully getting some budding results in early 2018 and spring 2018.

Kingfish note: These updates have been very useful.  It is a shame that he is the only councilman who posts such messages on Facebook.  


Anonymous said...

Haven't received a water bill in months. The situation is beyond total incompetence.

Anonymous said...

The water/sewer is kind of like Obamacare. You can keep your old meter and your old rates and get to save $2,500 per family. Now we have sky high bills, new meters ( couldn't keep my old one) and some people pay a great deal more while some get free water!

Anonymous said...

He 'responded by noting' all that? Well written.

Most important right now is the Police Chief and other appointments with whom Chock-Light will surround himself. Sweep up the crepe paper and get it movin'!

Justice for Tyrion said...

It sounds like councilman Priester is engaged in real issues and not the petty racial politics that plague Jackson. Hats off for taking your constituents concerns seriously and for trying to be part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

It was nice to start my morning by reading a rational assessment of issues to be addressed.
Councilman Priester didn't have engage in personal attacks or cast blame for past mistakes to make his points. Rather he raised the bar by identifying issues and stating reasonable expectations and goals.
If the rest of the council, the new administration and the legislature could be as intellectually honest and emotionally mature, we could actually solve problems

Anonymous said...

@5:58- which means he has not future beyond city council.

Anonymous said...

I have a new meter and keep seeing estimated readings on my bill. I just paid a three month bill then last week I get a one month bill. So basically, they're not reading the new meters and not keeping up with their billing. They cashed my check fairly quickly which is an improvement. At least they know how important it is to get the money in the bank. What a fiasco.

Find The Money said...

'They cashed my check fairly quickly which is an improvement.'

Look to see who endorsed your check...a city stamp or a clerk.

Anonymous said...

Melvin Priester is my councilman. He is all talk and no action. Every time he speaks he talks about how frustrated he is, how he can't get anything done, how the administration is withholding information. His comments about the Mayor and what to look for are somewhat enlightening, but him getting off his ass and doing something for Ward 2 would also be a tremendous help and hopefully improve things. Less talk, more action.

Anonymous said...

@12:52PM I agree, he is all talk.. no action. And he's really bad with being friendly and getting to know his citizens, something is off. Thank god ward one cuts right behind my street

Anonymous said...

I notice my water bills now go to Memphis. No one competent enough in Jackson to handle this billing? Really?

Plain ol' Catfish said...

@ July 17, 2017 at 3:00 PM

I live in Ward 1 and the last good councilman we had was Jeff Weil.

Ashby Foote and Quinten Whitwell have been and were non-existent when it comes to being effective communicators for Ward 1.

Anonymous said...

Tell us @12:52 what you want Priester to do. Be specific. What actions do you want him to take.

Anonymous said...

@ 3:59 PM
I agree that Ashby Foote is super ineffective and brings nothing to the board. He is ineffective at best.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mayor:

Think you can show up when it is raining like mad and the raw sewage is flooding the intersection of Northside and Kimwood?

Your made-for-TV appearance in Belhaven today was great and the lofty words were real special too.

But will you come out from behind your private gated community and show up when the wind is howling and the rain is pouring and the raw sewage is spewing everywhere in our neighborhood?

Need we remind you about the old adage regarding action versus words?


Ward 1 Taxpaying Homeowner

Anonymous said...

He's telling the truth regarding financial situation. If our Hinds County DA gets to leave his job, I expect crime to decrease in Jackson. The jail situation will not improve under Mason -- guess we have to wait for 3 more years on that. The Council people seem to be working together better and the Mayor seems engaged. Hope we won't see a bunch of out-of-town people coming here and trying to understand Jackson and its needs. Especially Detroit people. The water billing and collecting situation falls totally on the stupid Siemens Contract. The "meter to the computer part" appears to be broken so the whole thing was a gigantic waste of money if this cannot be straighten out. IMHO, they have had time to build a whole new system to read these stupid meters. Where's the investigative reporting on this? (Not just you Kingfish.)

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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.

Note: Security provided by INS.

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.

Note: Security provided by INS