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Recreation, police make budget requests for next fiscal year

The present stadium lights at Vicksburg High School’s Memorial Stadium could soon be a part of the Vicksburg’s Parks and Recreation Department’s inventory.

The football stadiums at Vicksburg High School and Warren Central High School are getting new lights as part of the renovation, repair and upgrade project for the Vicksburg Warren School District’s school buildings and athletic facilities.

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said Wednesday the present lights and fixtures at Vicksburg High School are compatible with the field lighting at the Halls Ferry Park and Bazinsky baseball and softball fields.

He called Vicksburg Warren Superintendent Chad Shealy about the school district transferring the Vicksburg High lights to the city to use at Halls Ferry and Bazinsky once the stadium’s new lighting system is installed.

The decision to contact the school district follows a capital budget request Tuesday from parks and recreation director Joe Graves totaling $1.01 million for new LED lighting at the Halls Ferry and Bazinsky complexes.

The recreation department budget meeting was one of the final department meetings Tuesday, as the Board of Mayor and Aldermen wrapped up budget meetings. The board is in the process of building the city’s fiscal 2020 budget, which is projected to reach $29 million.

Monsour said the present lighting at the parks is out of date and parts for the system are unavailable.

He said the lights from Vicksburg High would be used for parts to repair the city parks’ lights if a problem arises.

He said he discussed the lights with parks and recreation maintenance supervisor Rick Daughtery, but has not talked to Graves.

“If we can (get the lights), we’ll be good for several years down the line, so we don’t have to spend all that money going in,” Monsour said. “So we don’t have to put that money in the budget.”

Shealy said he talked to project architects Dale Bailey Architects about the lights, adding a provision will be placed in the bid documents that the selected contractor return the old lights to the school district.

Shealy would bring the request to the trustees when the board meets in August; the same meeting is also expected to advertise for bids for the new lighting system.

If trustees approve the transfer, he said, there would be an interlocal agreement between the city and the school district outlining it.

“The city has been a great partner since I’ve been here,” Shealy said. “Anything we can do, we sure want to do, but we’ve got to follow state law and processes.”

In other budget matters, Police Chief Milton Moore received preliminary approval for six new cars — four Dodge Chargers and two Dodge Durango SUVs. The Durangos are for the police department’s K-9 units.

A Charger purchased from the state Department of Finance and Administration’s police vehicle purchasing list is $21,289. A Durango bought through state purchasing is $27,615. It costs more than $13,000 extra per car to equip each with lights, sirens and other technical equipment.

Moore initially asked for six Dodge Charges and six Durangos — four for officers in the police department’s traffic division and K-9 units. He requested Durangos for the traffic officers because they carry a lot of equipment, adding it would be better for them.

“We don’t need six cars,” Flaggs said, “We ordered six last year.” He said the city was changing its mileage threshold from 100,000 miles to 125,000 miles before a car is replaced.

Moore also requested $60,000 for 12 new laptop computers with printers and stands for patrol cars, $28,000 for two mobile trailer cameras for surveillance, $36,062 for dash cameras and mobile tag readers that can help identify stolen vehicles.

A public hearing on the budget is set for Thursday, Sept. 5 at 5:30 p.m.

Under state law, the city’s budget must be approved by Sunday, Sept. 15. The new fiscal year starts Tuesday, Oct. 1.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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