When it comes to priorities, Mayor Elect Percy Bland says addressing crime is a top one. That's why early next week a major announcement will likely be made concerning the police department.
"I think that I will name a new chief next week," says Bland. "We have talked a lot about crime and addressing some of the needs in our community and making people feel safe. So, we want to do a good job of going in the door with a plan on how we want to attack those certain things in our neighborhoods."
Other issues that are near the top of Bland's agenda include: neighborhood revitalization and stabilization and reaching out to young people.
"The more active they are, the more involved and engaged that they are, the better they will be as citizens. We know that we can address a lot of our issues with crime and education, and those sort of things by giving our young people a lot more hope in their communities. I want to do that through programs in the community. I'm going to be working very hard with a lot of key groups to make those things happen."
Recently, Bland named a 29 member transition team that's divided into five groups. The purpose for the groups is to come up with recommendations about how to move forward in the future in the areas of: education, community development, public safety, infrastructure and city partnerships. Bland plans to have a report of the groups' findings available to the public by August 15th.
Mayor Elect Percy Bland and other elected city officials will be sworn into office at 11:30 Monday morning at the Temple Theatre in downtown Meridian. This will be followed by a reception on the front lawn of city hall.