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City, County and Ole Miss to Develop Comprehensive Traffic Plan

Photo by Amy Goodin

Mayor Robyn Tannehill and the Board of Aldermen approved an interlocal agreement with Lafayette County on Tuesday to establish committees to oversee a joint traffic study. 

Last spring, the City of Oxford, Lafayette County and the University of Mississippi began discussing a Comprehensive Traffic Plan encompassing all of Lafayette County. The three parties have verbally agreed to pay $83,333 each toward the Comprehensive Traffic Study. 
City Engineer Bart Robinson said the city entered a contract with Waggoner Engineering, Inc. to begin developing the traffic study earlier this fall. 
“The county was interested in making sure there was sort of a tier of committees,” Robinson said in Tuesday’s meeting. “We were fine with that, but we wanted to make sure … who is actually responsible for directing and supervising the contracting party, which we retained that in this [agreement] … ultimately, we’re responsible.” 
While the contract was signed between Waggoner Engineering Inc. and the City of Oxford, Tannehill said the city will work as partners with the county and the University on the project. 
“We’re signing the contract with [Waggoner Engineering], but we’re fully aware that we all hold equal seats at the table as far as developing [the Comprehensive Traffic Plan] and implementing it,” she said. 
The agreement establishes a Joint Comprehensive Traffic Study Steering Committee with six members – two from the Board of Aldermen, two from the Board of Supervisors and two appointed by the Chancellor of the University. This committee will oversee Waggoner Engineering’s study through all of the development phases.
Technical and Stakeholder Committees will also be formed after further discussion between the LOU leaders. 
Once signed by the Board of Supervisors, the interlocal agreement will be sent to the state Attorney General for approval. The agreement will go into effect the day it is approved. 
In other board news, Mayor Tannehill signed a one-year contract with the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society (OLHS) after previously addressing “non-negotiable” requirements OLHS must abide by in the board’s Dec. 19 meeting. 
Alderman Janice Antonow, liaison for OLHS, will continue monitoring OLHS board meetings until she feels comfortable that transparency is “just part of their routine.” 
“I think they’re doing well,” Antonow said. “They did well at their last two meetings.”
The agreement will be renewed in one-year intervals, but Antonow said if either party wishes to terminate the contract before then, a 15-day notice will be required.
The OLHS board will meet Tuesday, Jan. 9, to vote on the contract, and OLHS director Angela Avery will provide a report to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen in the latter’s Jan. 16 regular meeting. 
“I think it’s important that we keep up with what’s going on,” Antonow said. “And if they have any questions or problems, it’ll give them an opportunity to ask.” 
In other board news, Tannehill announced that Oxford’s Buildings and Grounds Department employees will be using City Hall as a temporary home-base after a fire damaged the department building Sunday morning. 
“We’re going to block off a row of parking spaces behind City Hall for those trucks to be utilized,” Tannehill said. “We apologize for any inconvenience if we have to park trucks alongside City Hall on the north side and prevent a right turn in front of City Hall from time to time.”
“But, that’s what we’ll do to figure out a space for them to be warm and dry and have a lunch break,” Tannehill said. 
Also in Tuesday’s meeting, the board adopted a No Protest Resolution for the issuance of General Obligation bonds in the amount of $11 million for the downtown parking garage

By Randall Haley, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at randall.haley@hottytoddy.com.

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