Supervisor candidate debates nearing final installment on July 7
What could have been the largest debate in the county thus far with eight candidates vying for the seat of District 2 Supervisor ended up being yet another sparsely-attended event with less than half of the candidates showing up to present their platforms and debate matters on June 8 at the G.W. Henderson, Sr. Recreation Center.
Lynn Henson, Barbara Tuchel, and Edward Walls were the only candidates of the eight on the ballot to participate, as Michael Eugene Johnson, Rodney Foster, Perry Turner, Robert Leflore Jr., and Major Taylor Jr. did not attend the event.
And, once again, the event organizer, Pastor Roman Fullilove, publicly expressed his disappointment with the low turnout of candidates.
“You put your name on the ballot, you need to be here,” he said.
Nevertheless, members of the panel, Janie Bonds and Yvonne Herring, went forth with questions for the three candidates present and raised several concerns including the county budget, unemployment, and community development.
Herring presented the first question of the debate, and it focused directly on the county budget. Tuchel suggested that the county stop allowing tax abatements and expand its economy to include distribution companies.
Herring also asked if the current millage rate was sufficient to fund public education. Walls responded that the rate is essential to increasing productivity in children but did not clearly answer if the rate was sufficient.
“I think it needs to be addressed. I think it needs to be tapped into. Yes, I do,” he said.
As a part of his response to Bonds’s question about his primary focus, Henson said expenditure cutbacks is something he wants to immediately review if elected.
“We need to prioritize,” he said. “Look at the money we have, use that money wisely.”
When Herring asked about unemployment, all the candidates expressed some interest in being more selective about the stipulations for companies invited to build in the county.
“We need not write any more plans for companies to come here that do not hire our citizens,” Tuchel said.
Walls said accountability measures need to be in place for those companies to train Tunicans.
“Take care of home first,” he said.
Bonds asked about community development efforts, to which Tuchel responded that a community is currently in the process of being built.
However, Henson pointed out that medical facilities, the local utility district, roads, sewer, gas, and water are all matters that need attention to further develop communities.
Though it wasn’t clear if the question stemmed from community development concerns, the last inquiry for the evening came from the audience. Candidates were asked if they intend to do what’s best for the county or make decisions based on the majority of the board.
“I can’t say that I will always go with the majority,” Henson said.
“I’m not going to vote in favor of anything that’s not in the best interest of Tunica County,” Walls said.
“I believe in one person, one vote. I will vote for the best thing for the county as whole,” Tuchel said.
The next debate is for District 1 Supervisor, and it’s scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on July 7 at the Robinsonville Community Center.
Teen guilty of murder
Eighteen year old Cortez Bass of Tunica was convicted in Tunica County Circuit Court last week of first degree murder in the March 2014 shooting death of Donterrius Jackson, also of Tunica.
The original incident and last week’s trial drew added media attention due to claims by the victim’s mother, Linda Jackson, that Bass had stalked her son, then 17, on line for months prior to the shooting. Both were students at Rosa Fort High School.
Jackson said she reported the cyber stalking to the Tunica County Sheriff’s Department; Bass was arrested in December 2013 for cyberstalking and served eight days in juvenile detention.
Utility district again appeals for funding
Supervisors will hear from two of their members before acting on a written request from the Tunica County Utility District for additional funding to clear a backlog of invoices that totals over $250,000.
Board president James Dunn appointed District 4’s Henry Nickson and McKinley Daley of District 5 on June 12 to meet with the TCUD governing board, after county administrator Michael Thompson said the funding request was to cover back expenses but that he would not recommend an appropriation to TCUD.
“The current management fee is $10,000 per month and rent is $2500 per month,” Thompson said. “I worked with the management...but the cost structure hasn’t changed much.”
Arts in the alley
Tunica Arts Council’s latest event, with live music from David Klimek (with guitar), Patrick Johnson and Byron Earnheart, art and photography, and a children’s chalk wall drew families downtown last Friday night.
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