Mayor Cheri Barry confirms to Newscenter 11 that she will seek a second term as mayor of Meridian.
Barry took office in 2009 after serving as director of the Red Cross. Since then, Barry has faced a number of issues, including budget constraints and what to do with the threefoot building.
Her most recent challenge was making a budget that didn't increase taxes, while raising city employee pay by 2%. The mayor made her stance on not raising taxes very clear when the city council proposed a budget that included a tax increase, and while taxes will stay the same next year, a raise in taxes looks inevitable after the economy recovers.
"Our community is hurting, and even though we have a balanced budget and we have had to make some very tough and hard decisions over the past three years, meridian's financials look very good and probably the best in the state," Barry says.
Something that has been a controversial issue for the people of Meridian for sometime is the threefoot building. Some people want it restored, while others want it taken down. Mayor Barry would like to see it return to how it was during its prime, but can't make that happen with city money.
"It is the property of the citizens and the taxpayers and the city of Meridian, and I wish it wasn't," Barry says. "I'm hoping that someone will want to come in and develop that property. The city does not have the financing or the money to restore that building, so I'm really looking hard for someone that would like to come in and tie it into the downtown growth and development, and make it into what she could be."
With so many projects in the works, she's not quite ready to leave her post as mayor when her term is up next year.
"I've worked very very hard for the past three years in an effort to change Meridian, and I think she is on the path to greatness," Barry says. "I see so many wonderful things happening, and even though I'm not at liberty right now to talk about all the great things that are happening, but shortly down the road, you're going to hear some very exciting things."
Barry is a 1973 graduate of Lamar High School and 1977 graduate of Ole Miss. She is married to county attorney Rick Barry.