January 9, 2018
TUPELO, MS – Here is the statement of Mayor Jason L. Shelton regarding the first veto of his administration:
During the regular City Council meeting of Tuesday, January 2, 2018, the Council considered “in the matter of review/approve/reject proposal of construction of a turn lane on Belden Endvill Road based on cost estimates provided by the Department of Development Services.” By a 5-1 vote, the Council approved the item.
Today, I am returning without my approval the agenda item, which would provide for an unfunded mandate, as provided by Mississippi Code § 21-8-17. (General powers and duties of mayor; approval of ordinances) A key component of this administration is to budget wisely and to pay as we go. Last summer, the Council and Administration worked together on our 2017-18 fiscal year budget that forecasted increased spending of nearly $2 million split between blight removal and road maintenance.
It was at Council’s request that the Administration’s proposed budget increased street paving and maintenance. In doing so, the city’s capital improvements budgeted slightly more than $2 million for street overlay and maintenance. Among those projects slated, a turning lane for Belden Endville Road does not appear. The major collector does appear on an overlay list under the Major Thoroughfare Program.
Additionally, the action by a majority of the Council to build this turning lane is inconsistent with the process of road building for the City. Here is the process for road building as it would apply to creating a turn lane at Tupelo Christian Preparatory School:
- Determine the need
- Conduct a traffic impact analysis, required under Chapter 12 of the Development Code when private use development of property impacts public traffic.
- Present a request to the Traffic Committee, which has the responsibility of designating school zones, crosswalks and safety zones. The Traffic Committee is charged with marking off of traffic lanes, indicating flow of traffic. The Traffic Committee uses traffic counts and accident reports to approve changes, additions, closures, signs and markings.
- The Endville Road MDOT Average Annual Daily Traffic count is 2100, West of the city limits; 2400, just past CR41 at the city limits; 2600 after Countrywood Cove and 3600 West of TCPS. No numbers have been derived for TCPS entrance or at McCullough Boulevard.
- Annual priority lists contained in the street improvement and overlay plans of the Tupelo Public Works Department, capital plan and Major thoroughfare Program, rating 1-5 with 1 the best condition and 5 the worst. Endville Road is graded as a 1.
- How needed projects are estimated
- Based on the need, preliminary engineering estimates are derived and refined after the project is approved.
- How road projects are prioritized for funding
- General fund street improvement and overlay funds
- Capital plan projects
- Major Thoroughfare maintenance funds for arterial and major collector roads.
- Major Thoroughfare project funds
- Special assessment projects where the adjoining property owners repay the cost, or a portion of the cost of the improvements on an annual basis from property taxes
- The private entity pays for the project and then dedicates the improvements to the use of the general public. This occurred in Tupelo with the Walmart on South Gloster Street.
The reason for this process is to remain fiscally conservative as we accomplish projects on our capital expenditures list. This Administration has maintained the steady course, and will continue to do so.
It is for these reasons, I must veto this Council action.
Jason L. Shelton