Ridgecrest board cleans up with new mayor, budget

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 15, 2000

RIDGECREST, La. – In the space of 45 minutes, the Ridgecrest Board of Aldermen appointed Guy Lain interim mayor, filled vacant aldermen’s positions and approved a 2001 budget of almost $254,000.

&uot;I really am looking forward to serving the town as mayor,&uot; Lain, who had been an alderman, said after the Thursday night meeting. &uot;And we’re fortunate to have a good board … that has the best interests of the town at heart.&uot;

Lain, an attorney whose office is just a stone’s throw away from town hall, will serve in the $100-a-month post until an election can be held.

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The election will probably be set for April 7, said Warren Ponder, a spokesman for the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.

David Cobb recently resigned after five years as mayor because he does not have the time to devote to the part-time job, since he already holds down a 12-hour-a-day job at Titan Tire of Natchez.

Regardless, Cobb wrote in a letter to the board, &uot;I will do whatever I&160;can to help any of you. All you have to do is ask.

&uot;You are all like family to me. … We have worked very well together. We are a team (and)&160;I&160;am very proud to have been a member of that team.&uot;

&uot;He did a good job for the town,&uot;&160;said Mayor Pro Tem Ronald Barnhill.

Actually, in the same letter, Cobb recommended that Barnhill take his place.

But Barnhill also declined the position since a full-time job at International Paper’s Natchez mill and other obligations take up much of his time.

And to make sure the mayor’s position doesn’t fall to him in the future, Barnhill resigned as mayor pro tem Thursday night, although he will stay on as an alderman.

Instead, Alderman Kevin Graham was appointed as mayor pro tem for the town of 776.

&uot;He’s around town a lot,&uot;&160;Barnhill explained.

Alderman Housley Varnado also resigned Thursday.

James Cowan and Tony Whittington were appointed to fill the aldermen’s positions left vacant by the Lain and Varnado.

After such personnel matters were ironed out, Barnhill motioned for Lain to take over the meeting – but Lain’s duties were not set to start until midnight.

&uot;Oh … I was hoping to get rid of it,&uot; Barnhill said before conducting the rest of the meeting.

Ridgecrest’s 2001 budget is more than $6,000 under the previous year’s budget, mostly due to the loss of tobacco tax revenues.