D’head to split into four wards

Diamond Head

The Diamondhead Council heard voting district and budget proposals from its city planner at Monday’s meeting.
A draft map drawn by Bridge and Watson of Oxford, Miss., divides Diamondhead into four wards. Each proposed ward is composed of about 2,090 people.
“This is step one of the election process of June 2013,” said Mayor Chuck Ingraham. “It can be approved after public discussion.”
In drawing the proposed district lines, the company tried to follow existing divisions done by the Census Bureau and the county supervisors, said Chris Watson.
Ward one is on the west side of the city and is composed of the area north of I-10, up Diamondhead Dr. to Twin Lakes. Ward two is composed of the area from Twin Lakes to the county line and includes part of the golf course. Ward three covers the area south of I-10 and part of the business district to the country club. Ward Four stretches from the country club to the county line.
Watson also presented a balanced budget proposal of about $285,000 for fiscal year 2012, which ends Sept. 30. It anticipates about $22,600 of monthly revenue from sales tax. However, the numbers are based on a 2007 study and don’t factor in the new Rouse’s.
“Let’s hope [the estimate] is on the low side,” said Ingraham during the meeting.
The proposed budget involved some guess work, Watson said. If adopted, it is not set in stone and could be amended if necessary, he said.
The city will hold a public hearing about both proposals April 2 at 6 pm in the country club.
The council also passed an ordinance creating a planning and zoning commission.
The commission will be responsible for maintaining zoning maps, responding to variance requests, and advising the council on changes in land use. It will also provide input to Bridge and Watson as a comprehensive plan is developed.
“This is about getting our comprehensive plan together for land use,” Ingraham said. “Once you have a comprehensive plan, there are limited ways you can change, so doing it right the first time is important.”
The commission will be composed of seven members. The mayor and each council person will appoint one member. The other member will be selected by majority vote. They will meet at least once a month.
The meeting was recessed until Wednesday, March 6 at 6 pm at city hall.
In other council action: • City Manger Lloyd Ramirez announced the opening of the city website, http://www.diamondhead.ms.
• The council created the position of city historian and is seeking a volunteer to staff it.
• The mayor declared March as American Red Cross Month.

By Jace Ponder

The Sea Coast Echo

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