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Two of four supervisor candidates in District 1 respond

(10/27/03)In advance of general election voting Nov. 4, The Vicksburg Post provided questionnaires to candidates for local offices.

Their responses, as they wrote them, are being printed in a series of articles, continuing today with those from candidates for District 1 Warren County supervisor.

Voters will see on ballots the names of independents Billy R. Boone, 53, Kenneth A. Downs, 39, and Michael J. Terry, 56, and Republican incumbent David Lamar McDonald, 53.

Responses were not received from Boone or Downs.

District 1 is the county’s northeastern district.

Q: How would you decide which public-works projects are most important?

McDonald: The priority of all public-works projects is determined by majority vote of the board with input from our county engineer and cost considerations.

Terry: Public works are very important to all citizens. As supervisor for the first district, of course, this will be my top priority, as it appears it has been forgotten for a number of years. Although, I must remember that all districts have needs; therefore I must consider the most people to benefits from any project and act or vote accordingly.

Q: Development in Warren County outside Vicksburg has increased recently in areas including U.S. 61 North near River Region Medical Center. What, if any, level of land-use regulation or zoning laws would you support? Why?

McDonald: I would support some level of land-use regulations. We have looked at some other counties’ zoning laws and I hope we can introduce a draft form for public input in 2004.

Terry: With most of this particular area in the first district I am very concerned for the safety and appearance of this area. I do strongly support zoning and propose a countywide building code, especially in new developments assuring all residents of a safe and quality structure for business or home.

Q: Groups such as the Community Alliance of Vicksburg Warren County have pushed for consolidation of some functions performed by both county and city governments. What, if any, opportunities do you see for gains through consolidation?

McDonald: Any effort at consolidation of city and county services would need to be cost-effective for both city and county residents, maintain the same or better quality of service and have an equitable funding formula established.

Terry: What an ongoing dispute, with the present city and county administration I see no opportunities. Consolidation could have many benefits for city and county residents. First, we need to realize that Vicksburg is part of Warren County, and we should be willing to consolidate some city and county functions. Maybe a good starting point would be a nonterritory area such as parks and recreation. This area no one would have to give up any authority over anything.

Q: Four years ago, county voters said in a non-binding referendum that they wanted the old Mississippi River bridge open to light vehicular traffic. Supervisors followed with a 4-1 vote to do that. The bridge remains closed. What are your thoughts on this?

McDonald: There is a problem with the No. 2 pier on both the U.S. 80 and Interstate 20 bridge. Louisiana Department of Transportation is studying the cause and has agreed to share that information with us. The estimated cost of stabilization could be $8 million to $10 million. Once the pier problem is solved, other concerns can be addressed. However, there is still the liability problem of narrow lanes and the fact that most of the bridge is in Louisiana where there is not tort claims protection.

Terry: Four years ago making a nonbinding referendum was a mistake. What an open end for career politicians. I suggest let’s do it again with a binding referendum with cost-projection and means to pay for it. If it passes, then the board will be obligated to follow the directives of the public. Why not make a decision and live with it?

Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of a Warren County supervisor’s job?

McDonald: A desire to make Warren County the best place in the South to live and raise a family, with a clear understanding of the rules, regulations and funding avenues that must be followed to achieve that goal.

Terry: To act responsibly with the county budget, get the most out of every dollar spent. To be accountable to the people of the first district for all decisions made while in office. To be accessible to the residents of the first district by accepting all calls, return calls and I will explain why I voted for or against any issue.

Q: If there are specific things you’d like to accomplish in office, please list them and explain.

McDonald: Better level of road maintenance and paving. Implementation of our animal-control ordinance. Introduce some level of land-use regulations. Look into the possibility of a Circuit Annex to our courthouse. Widening of Yazoo River from mouth to port. Adding 80 acres of waterfront property to the north end of the port. Railroad access at Ceres Industrial Park. Additional study into moving railroad tracks from downtown.

Terry: I would hope to restore respect to the county board when dealing with the city board. Some of the action of both has been unprofessional. I will work hard to make sure our schools are safe and the best-quality education possible. Seek the lost opportunities the first district has lost over the last several years and demand the first district receive its fair share of the county works.