Leaders Say Adjustment Period Necessary

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Percy Bland is the most obvious new face of a newly elected government in Meridian. But the new mayor will be joined by three new council members too.

The Lauderdale County Council of Governments met Monday for the first time since the elections.

There is a lot of speculation, and support, for the newly-elected leaders, who are also new to working in city government.

Mayor-elect Bland, and new council members Dustin Markham of Ward 2, Kim Houston of Ward 4, and Randy Hammon of Ward 5 will have a big job right off the bat, according to city council president, Dr. George Thomas:

"That has to be done in probably July and August," said Thomas. "We have to pass that in early September. So they have two months to deal with 60 to 100 million dollars. How do you budget that money? That's going to be the challenge, I think, for the first few months. But I think it will work out well. You'll have some new people and new ideas. I think it will work well."

Lauderdale County supervisor, Josh Todd, says there will be an adjustment period.

"I know how it was coming in; it was a learning curve," said Todd. "So you just won't be able to jump in there right off the bat, and get to work. You'll have to feel things out. See what you can and can't do, and go from there."

Thomas points out the new government leaders will have a lot of long-range planning on their plates to deal with the first few months.

"First 100 days, a plan for the future, day to day, month to month. Come up with something, where do we want to be four years from now?" said Thomas. "When this term ends? If new people come in, where do we want the city to be then? And maybe past there, also, but at least four years, where do we want to be in four years?"

Meridian leaders elected or re-elected this year take office July 1.