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Residents' concerns close to home

By Staff
UNSIGHTLY PROPERTY AN ISSUE – Thomas Hayden stands in an overgrown lot near his home in the area of 55th Avenue. Thomas is a District 4 resident who said he would like to see a joint effort between Lauderdale County and the city of Meridian to clean up unsightly and unsafe property near his home.Photo by paula merritt / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
October 5, 2003
Several residents in Lauderdale County were asked this week for the most important issues affecting the supervisor districts in which they live.
Most of the dozen adult residents who were approached did not want to comment publicly on the supervisor races in their districts. Some said they did not care what the outcome would be. Others admitted that they are not registered to vote.
Voters in Districts 2, 4 and 5 will decide on Nov. 4 who will represent them on the board of supervisors. Their decisions will complete the make-up of the board for the next four years.
District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt won re-election in the Aug. 5 Republican primary and Eddie Harper, who won the Aug. 26 Republican runoff, will replace outgoing District 1 Supervisor Hank Florey who chose not to seek re-election.
Those residents who did comment on what they saw as the most important issues in their districts all had one thing in common. What they were most concerned about was close to home.
In rural areas of District 2 and District 5, one woman said property taxes was the most important issue to her. Residents like Johnny L. Walker, who lives on Walker Spur Road, said keeping the rural roads maintained is the most important issue to him.
But Thomas G. Hayden, who lives on 55th Avenue in Meridian, is a District 4 resident who said he would like to see a joint effort between the county and the city to clean up unsightly and unsafe property near his home.
District 4 Supervisor Joe Norwood wanted the board to set aside $100,000 for this fiscal year's budget to match Meridian funds for cleaning up property within the city.
But, he said he is hopeful county workers will be able to help with the problem next spring and he said he is actively looking for grants that may allow the county to help with the problem.
Norwood has said overgrown and condemned properties should be a concern for county government as well as for municipalities because they are health and safety hazards.
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focus for supervisors
Each of the incumbent Lauderdale County supervisors who face challenges in the November general election are Democrats District 4's Norwood, District 2 Supervisor Jimmie Smith and District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell. And the main issues closest to home for them is economic development.
Boswell said bringing more industrial jobs to Lauderdale County will be a major focus of the board for the next four years.
Smith also listed economic development as the top priority for his district and for the county as a whole.
Norwood also foresees economic development as a main focus of the board of supervisors over the next four years.