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Ridgeland Mississippi News

Citizen Recognized for Years of Community Service

Jerry Williams was recognized at the Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting on October 6, 2015 for years of community service as the volunteer manager of the Community Garden that provided fresh vegetables to needy families, involved local youth, and local businesses. Williams also served as President of the Friends of the Ridgeland Library.

Jerry Williams was recognized at the Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting on October 6, 2015 for years of community service as the volunteer manager of the Community Garden that provided fresh vegetables to needy families, involved local youth, and local businesses. Williams also served as President of the Friends of the Ridgeland Library. He was presented with a proclamation and a key to the city for his wonderful service to the community.

Ridgeland Mayor Proclaims October as Racial Reconciliation Celebration Month

Ridgeland, Mississippi Mayor Gene McGee proclaims October 2015 as Racial Reconciliation Celebration Month. Mayor McGee encourages all citizens to join Mission Mississippi in their work to seek racial reconciliation and unity throughout Mississippi.

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Letter to the Northside Sun Editor by Mayor Gene McGee

This letter from Mayor McGee was published in the Sept. 24 issue of the weekly Northside Sun in response to Wyatt Emmerich’s from the publisher dated Sept. 10.
Dear Ms. Sweat:

This letter is in response to “Ridgeland budget 50 percent greater than it could be” written by Wyatt Emmerich and published in the September 10, 2015 issue of Northside Sun.

Yes, the City of Ridgeland budget is bigger now than it was in 1990. Show me a city where exponential growth has occurred in commercial areas and population growth has doubled, and you will see a larger budget. Show me a city where the price of doing business has not increased substantially in the same number of years. Inflation, cost of living, fuel costs, all of these items affect how much it costs for us to do business just like it does in your household or your business.

In order to meet the demands of increases in population, city services must also increase. Road construction and maintenance, police and fire protection, water and sewer services, solid waste and recycling, recreation and parks, and the staff, vehicles, fuel, electricity, and equipment, to perform the duties related to those services, all must grow to meet the needs of the residents, businesses and even visitors in our city. There are also professional services fees outside of our city staff that are necessary for our city, such as engineering, design, legal and financial services.

Not only has the city grown in population, it has grown in land area. In 1990, the City of Ridgeland contained 10.8 square miles while currently, it is 21.4 square miles. City services are thus provided to more than double the area today than in 1990. Water and sewer infrastructure was extended on the western side of town to better serve the growth area. The miles of streets have increased over the same years from 87 miles to 200 miles. The number of street lights has increased from 623 to 1000. A service that we have added since the 1990s is landscaping extensively along some of the major thoroughfares in Ridgeland such as County Line Road, Lake Harbour Drive, I-55/Frontage Road, and the Roundabout at Old Agency Road and Highland Colony Parkway. The maintenance of attractive plantings and decorative elements at major intersections and roadways in Ridgeland enhance the aesthetics of our city and help to boost property values.

Over the same years, we have built the third and fourth fire stations, the police station, the public works complex, and Freedom Ridge Park. Those are just some of the more noticeable capital projects that enhance the safety, service and quality of life for our residents.

Police protection has improved over the years to better meet the demands of an urbanizing area. Back in 1991, the City of Ridgeland was providing one police officer for every 558 residents. In 2014, we were providing one police officer for every 328 residents. We are still working toward a better ratio and obviously need funding in order to add police officers to the force. We strive to provide the latest technology to our officers to aid in their responsibilities.

Over the years, we have also improved our fire insurance rating for residents. The rating dropped from a class 7 in 1991 to a class 5 in 2014, bringing savings to homeowners and businesses. Flood insurance ratings have also improved which also translates into savings for residents. Ridgeland has a flood classification of 6 which gives residents a 20 percent discount on flood insurance premiums.

We also work to maintain the integrity of our residential areas through code enforcement and that requires more staff and resources. As areas of the city age, the need for code enforcement has increased. This is an investment in the quality of our residential areas.

Not only does the city provide services for the residential population, but the city provides services to the great number of motorists who travel in and out of Ridgeland every day. Motorists travel through Ridgeland to get to work in Jackson or Madison County from the reservoir area and Rankin County and from Madison County, north of Ridgeland. Businesses, schools, and churches that choose to locate in Ridgeland also require police and fire protection, working water and sewer, and safe roadways. Ridgeland is home to a community college, three private schools, and four public schools. We have a large number of churches located throughout Ridgeland. Retail and office centers are located along Highland Colony Parkway, County Line Road, Old Canton Road, Lake Harbour Drive, Pear Orchard Road, and Highway 51, basically every significant transportation corridor in Ridgeland.

However, even with the commercial and institutional growth experienced by Ridgeland since 1990, as well as growth in population, land area, and the need for more employees, our budget has not grown at the rate stated by Emmerich. City leaders have worked consistently since I have been in office to be as conservative with taxpayers’ money as possible. We do not take any decision to spend money lightly. We consider lower cost options whenever possible. We bid projects, and the vast majority of the time, we go with the lowest bidder that can provide the work we need.

In Wyatt Emmerich’s table, Ridgeland City Expenses, he does not share accurate numbers with the readers. For example, the 1990 expenditures were $9.65 million for governmental funds instead of his stated $5.2. He did not include principal and capital outlay in his numbers. For comparison’s sake, if you took capital and principal out of the 2014 actual expenditures, it would be $25.1 million instead of his stated $29.9 for governmental funds.

Emmerich brings up the city’s proposed millage increase that would have generated an extra $500,000. This amount would have equated to $11.10 per $100,000 assessed value. Thus, if you were a homeowner in Ridgeland of a $350,000 house, you would have paid only $38.85 per year in additional taxes. And, this was the first proposed millage increase in 23 years!

Sales tax revenue over the years has helped to pay for expenditures, and we have watched the revenue grow in recent years. However, 2015 receipts are almost equal to 2014. Sales tax is currently not growing at the same rate as our expenses. That is why we were asking for the millage increase. The increase is directly related to the long term sustainability of our City.

I want to emphasize that we do run lean. Employees are doing two and three jobs – when an employee leaves, more often than not, the duties of that employee are absorbed by existing employees in order to save taxpayer money. We are constantly seeking ways to save money. We only replace vehicles when necessary. We seek ways to save costs by sharing equipment, cooperating with other jurisdictions, finding creative means of saving, and seeking grants and sponsors.

We continue to have the lowest millage rate in Madison County at 20.03. I would challenge anyone to find a lower millage rate in a city that provides the level of services that we provide in as efficient a manner as we do at the City of Ridgeland. However, like any growing city, we need the financial resources to provide services that meet the needs of our citizens and continue to provide an environment that is attractive for business, so that we can in turn, maintain our city as a wonderful place to live, work and play.

Sincerely,

Gene F. McGee, Mayor

City of Ridgeland

 

 

 

 

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Awarded to Ridgeland

City Clerk Paula Tierce and Mayor Gene McGee pose with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting awarded to the City of Ridgeland for its comprehensive annual financial report. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. It is awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

City Clerk Paula Tierce and Mayor Gene McGee pose with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting awarded to the City of Ridgeland for its comprehensive annual financial report. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. It is awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).

Fall Ridgeland Life

Download Ridgeland Life Fall 2015 and get caught up on city news, learn about upcoming community events, and view the fall lineup of recreation and parks programs. Also, don’t miss news from local schools, the public library and the Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce! Thank you to our lovely models on the cover, Liz Green and Linda Loper, who are enjoying a brisk walk during the Mayor’s Fun Walk 2014.

If you are interested in advertising in Ridgeland Life, please contact our Sponsorship Coordinator, Julie Cox, at 601-853-2011. For questions or comments about Ridgeland Life, contact Sandra Monohan at 601-856-7113.

The National Park Service Releases Environmental Assessment on the Construction of a Trail Connecting the Craft Center and the Natchez Trace Parkway

The National Park Service, in cooperation with the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, seeks public comment on an environmental assessment (EA) to construct a pedestrian walkway between the Natchez Trace Parkway (Parkway) and the Mississippi Craft Center.  The walkway will tie the Old Trace and Brashears Stand site parking area and the multi-purpose trails to the Craft Center walkway system. This project will provide direct access from the Parkway to the Craft Center.

How to Comment on the EA:

The public is invited to provide input on the EA, available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/natr. A copy of the EA can be made available upon request, and will also be available at the Craft Center. Comments received during the public comment period will be used to help evaluate issues and concerns to be further addressed in the environmental review process. If you wish to comment, post comments online at the address above, or mail comments to: Superintendent, Natchez Trace Parkway, 2680 Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo, MS  38804. Comments will be accepted from September 4, 2015 through October 4, 2015.

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

View the full news release by the National Park Service.

 

Officer Stevens Selected as Officer of the Month

Sept 1 2015 OOMOfficer Daniel Stevens was selected as Officer of the Month for July 2015 for actions that are commendable and indicative of a professional and motivated officer. He was recognized at the Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting on Sept. 1, 2015. Pictured, left to right, are Chief John Neal, Officer Daniel Stevens, and Mayor Gene McGee.

City of Ridgeland to hold Mayor’s Fun Walk

fun walk logoLet’s go walking Ridgeland…at the 2015 Mayor’s Fun Walk! This year’s walk will be held on Wednesday, October 21 at 9:00 am and will begin at the Ridgeland Recreational Center with a stroll on the beautiful multi-purpose trail.

Mayor Gene McGee will lead us on an easy (light) walk using the beautiful multi-purpose trail. You may walk as little or as much as you want. We will return to the Ridgeland Recreational Center for refreshments, door prizes, and entertainment! Our entertainment will be the musical trio, “Sally, Tim, and Mike.” They will perform a medley of classic rock, Motown, blues, and folk music. Music for everyone to enjoy!

Pre-registration is requested. Registration forms were mailed to area senior adults in our monthly senior newsletter. Interested seniors can also access the form on the city’s website at www.ridgelandms.org, click on ‘Licenses, Forms and Permits’ and scroll down to ‘Recreation and Parks.’

Pre-register by mail, postmarked no later than Friday, October 16, 2015. T- shirts guaranteed to first 250 registrants. Registrations should be mailed to: Ridgeland Recreation & Parks, P.O. Box 217, Ridgeland, MS  39158 or you may drop off your registration form to Ridgeland City Hall (Ridgeland Recreation & Parks Office) or Ridgeland Recreational Center

Call Ridgeland Recreation & Parks at 601-856-6876 or e-mail Lynda.Assink@ridgelandms.org for more information.

Natchez Trace Parkway Welcomes Fourth Grade Students Through Every Kid in a Park Initiative

New National Program Encourages Families and Classes to Visit National Parks

TUPELO, MS:  Natchez Trace Parkway invites all fourth grade students to visit the park as part of the White House’s new Every Kid in a Park program. Starting September 1, fourth grade students can now go to www.everykidinapark.gov to complete an activity and obtain a free annual entry pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks.

“During the National Park Service’s centennial celebration, we want everyone to get to know their national parks, and we’re offering a special invitation to fourth graders and their families to discover everything that the Natchez Trace Parkway has to offer,” said Superintendent Mary Risser.

The Natchez Trace Parkway offers ranger-led educational opportunities in Tupelo, Ridgeland, and Natchez, Mississippi. Fourth graders are encouraged to bring their family and friends to the park’s many free weekend events including the upcoming Hernado de Soto Encampment, Pioneer Days, and National Public Lands Day. For more information on these and other activities, visit www.nps.gov/natr or call the Parkway Visitor Center at 662-680-4027.

To receive their free pass for national parks, fourth graders can visit the Every Kid in a Park website and play a game to access their special Every Kid in a Park pass. Fourth graders and their families can then use this pass for free entry to national parks and other federal public lands and waters across the country from September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016.  The website also includes fun and engaging learning activities aligned to educational standards, trip planning tools, safety and packing tips, and other important and helpful information for educators and parents.

In addition to providing every fourth grader in America a free entry pass for national parks and federal public lands and waters, fourth grade educators, youth group leaders, and their students across the country will also participate in the program through field trips and other learning experiences.

The goal of the Every Kid in a Park program is to connect fourth graders with the great outdoors and inspire them to become future environmental stewards, ready to preserve and protect national parks and other public lands for years to come.  The program is an important part of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2016, which encourages everyone to Find Your Park.

Every Kid in a Park is an administrative-wide effort, launched by President Obama, and supported by eight federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Education, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov

Donation Presented by Fleet Feet Sports

Fleet Feet donation 2015Fleet Feet Sports donated $2600 to the City of Ridgeland for the maintenance of the Ridgeland Multiuse Trail. Christy Campbell, Business Development Coordinator,  presented the check donation at the September 1, 2015 Mayor and Board of Aldermen Meeting. The donation was collected from the participant fees for the Turkey Day 8K event.