City spending heads to airport, police weapons

Published 11:21 am Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Budget amendments totaling more than $350,000 were approved Monday by the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen to cover two capital projects and buy guns for the police department.

The board transferred funds in three separate accounts totaling $388,745.94, moving $75,000 from the city’s 2007 bond fund surplus account to capital projects to pay for drainage repairs on city property off Fisher Ferry Road, $58,383.29 from the general fund to police supplies, and $255,362.65 from federal and state grants to the Vicksburg Municipal Airport capital account.

City accounting director Doug Whittington said the $75,000 approved Monday for Fisher Ferry is money from a 2007 $16.9 million bond issue that has been held in a surplus fund account.

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The city bought the 200-acre Fisher Ferry property in 2003 for $325,000. It acquired a wetlands permit in 2009 when development of the site as a sports complex began. It abandoned the project later that year after $2.7 million was spent on dirt work.

The board in 2007 approved the $16.9 million bond issue for work on the Fisher Ferry property, street work and the Washington Street bridge project.

The $75,000 was included in the 2012 budget to repair drainage and erosion problems on the property during a Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality inspection in May.

Interim public works director Garnet Van Norman said the repairs were not completed because low water levels in the Mississippi River prevented the city from getting the rock necessary to do the work.

The $255,365.65 for the Vicksburg Municipal Airport is a combination of Federal Aviation Administration and Mississippi Department of Transportation grant funds to seal cracks on the airport runway, rehabilitate the airport apron and rebuild the taxiway. The project has not been advertised.

Whittington said the $58,383.29 for police supplies is money from the sale of more than 900 surplus weapons in July to Martin & Martin Auctioneers of Mississippi in Brooklyn. The city sold the guns and traded in an additional 582 weapons to purchase new firearms for the police department.

Police Chief Walter Armstrong said the combination of the money from the weapons sale and the $66,000 the city received in trade for the old weapons enabled the police department to buy weapons that should arrive by the first of the year.