R’land Police Offer Safe Place
The internet has provided an easy way for people to sell their unwanted or used items. However, not every seller is reputable.
Scams and dangerous people could be lurking behind seemingly normal postings.
Ridgeland and Jackson police departments are offering a way for residents to make online transactions safely.
Ridgeland Assistant Chief of Police Eric Redd said the police department has offered to be a safe place for residents to meet to complete transactions and exchange goods they found online from websites such as Craigslist.
“It’s pretty new with the internet sales going up as we know it today, and it’s something that we have caught on to from other agencies,” Redd said.
The department began offering up their facility for this because of the danger involved in meeting up with a stranger and to cut down on online scams.
“You don’t really know the person that you’re going to meet,” Redd said. “You could be robbed or even worse.”
The police department is open 24 hours and available to the public to meet up to complete sales at any time.
Redd said residents can meet in the parking lot or come inside to the lobby. Either is safe, as the grounds are secured with surveillance cameras.
“If they meet at the police department, it’s a safe haven,” Redd said. “We have noticed some people pull up outside and meet in the parking lot.”
Those who would like to meet at the police department for a sale can even call ahead of time and ask to have an officer meet them at the station if they are more comfortable with that.
“That’s our job,” Redd said. “We want to protect the public.”
Redd’s daughter has even utilized the police department as a meeting place to complete a sale she found online.
“I know that if she goes to the police department the chance of something happening to her diminishes so much,” he said.
This also helps prevent residents from being the victim of an online scam as well.
“It also can prevent bad purchases,” he said. “It will help prevent scams. They won’t take the chance of getting caught if you’re meeting at the police department.”
Sales Tax Revenue Down
The city of Ridgeland has seen a small dip in sales tax revenue recently, but Mayor Gene McGee said he isn’t worried about the preliminary numbers.
The numbers show sales tax revenue to date in the fiscal year compared to the previous year’s numbers. However, McGee said that does not give a full picture of what the city will bring in.
The city saw a $104,682 drop in sales tax revenue for the month of January between 2017 and 2018.
January 2017 the city saw $1,176,384 in sales tax revenue and $1,071,702 in January 2018, which was an 8.9 percent decrease.
Between fiscal year 2017-18 and 2018-19, the city saw a loss of $50,479 in sales tax to date, which was around a 1.14 percent decrease.
By this point in fiscal year 2017-18, the city had brought in $4,440,305 in sales tax revenue. This year, the city has brought in $4,389,826.
“Internet sales definitely affects it,” McGee said. “But there is still a strong economic engine in the metropolitan area. I’m not at all concerned at this point.”
“Solid growth is what you have to have to get that going,” McGee said.
And retail growth is coming to Ridgeland this year, with the opening of Renaissance phases two and three, among other businesses from retail to restaurants.
“We try to emphasize to shop local as much as possible,” McGee said.
The diversion of use tax dollars to municipalities will also help offset the amount of sales tax dollars the city loses to internet sales.
Sales tax revenue made up 52 percent of Ridgeland’s general fund for 2018 and 48 percent of estimated actual expenditures for the general fund for 2018.
That money helps fund things like police and fire protection, roads, sewer garbage, libraries, jails and more. It also helps prevent rising property taxes in Ridgeland.
Meadowbrook Bridge Funded
Jackson can check this one off the list
The capital city is set to receive $409,000 in state bond money to repair the long-closed Meadowbrook Road bridge.
The structure was closed about 10 months ago, following inspections by the Mississippi Office of State Aid Road Construction.
Last week, the state announced that it allocated $250 million in bond money to make repairs across the state, including to the Meadowbrook structure.
The news comes as city officials were planning to bid the project out, but still looking for funding to pay for it, and days after Hinds County leaders had asked District 25 Sen. Walter Michel to introduce a bill to fund the repairs.
“I dropped that bill two days before we got the news the bridge was included in the bond package,” Michel said. “It’s tremendous news.”
State lawmakers authorized issuing $250 million in bonds for emergency road and bridge repair during a special session last summer and charged the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) with determining where the funds would be spent.
The agency released a list of more than 100 projects last week. Jackson is also receiving $723,000 for Beasley Road.
A roughly 1,000-foot span of Meadowbrook between East Ridge and Berlin drives was closed after inspections showed that wooden pilings underneath the structure were infested with termites.
Oral Arguments February 7
The next round in the Ridgeland Costco case is slated for February 7 in Madison County Circuit Court.
Attorneys requested oral arguments before Judge Steve Ratcliff at a hearing last week.
Ratliff said he wouldn’t prevent oral arguments from being heard if the attorneys requested them.
At the heart of the matter is whether Costco will be able to install a filling station on property across from its proposed Highland Colony Parkway location.
The national wholesaler is planning to build a store on the parkway south of the Old Agency Road roundabout next to Christ Life Church of the Highlands.
The gas station was approved by the Ridgeland mayor and board of aldermen last year. The decision to allow it is being appealed by six Ridgeland residents opposed to the plan.
Arguments are expected to be heard at 1 p.m.