Ellisville Mayor Lynn Buckhaults has been aware from day one of taking office that his town needed some street repaving.
“When I first took office, we rode the streets and categorized what was a priority,” he remembered.
The problem was that the town did not have the finances necessary to fix what the mayor knew was broken. But help is now on the way in the form of $500,000 that the state of Mississippi has destined for the streets of Ellisville.
“We’re excited and fortunate to get this money. The public is about to see some visible improvements,” Buckhaults added.
The mayor made a number of phone calls and wrote letters in repeated efforts to procure money for his town, but this week he tossed a bunch of the credit for the money coming in to the local state delegation.
“I’ve grumbled and complained, and my persistence helped, but they pushed it through,” said Mayor Buckhaults.
State Representative Donnie Scoggin chimed in on that process.
“The House Appropriations and the House Ways and Means committees are where a lot of that money comes from,” explained Rep. Scoggin (District 89). “You put in the requests, and then it all depends on how much is available and what the needs are. Ellisville had lots of needs from a street paving point of view.”
Rep. Scoggin said he stayed on the House Ways and Means chairman and added, with a slight chuckle, “It worked out with a lot of begging, bargaining and pleading.”
Rep. Scoggin recognized District 88 Representative Gary Staples for his help.
“Even though Ellisville is not directly in his district, he went to bat with the Ways and Means chairman to make sure we got it.”
Now that the money is on its way to the town’s account, bid openings are next. The next bid opening is scheduled for May 24 for what officials are calling the Jessamine Street project. That project will include repaving portions of Jessamine, Pine and Court streets.
After that repaving is completed, the mayor has some more smaller projects on the agenda, but town leaders need to see how much this first project will cost before moving forward with additional street repairs.
“We may have to do some streets in sections, not the whole street, to make the money go as far as we can,” the mayor said.
Once a bid is accepted, residents can expect to see road work begin within 60 days.