Wilkinson County officials sworn into office

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

WOODVILLE &045; About 70 people gathered Tuesday afternoon in the Wilkinson County Courthouse to watch as county elected officials took their oaths of office for the next four years.

&uot;This is a wonderful chance to see our American system at work. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and campaigning for many of you,&uot; Sixth Circuit Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders told the audience before administering oaths to nine county officials. Family members were then invited from the gallery to hold the Bible that each official rested their hand upon as they were sworn in.

Among those beginning their first terms in office were Constables Willie Thompson and Jessie Stewart, District 5 School Trustee Johnny Smallwood and District 2 Supervisor Richard Hollins.

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Hollins, declared the winner of the disputed District 2 Supervisor election following a court hearing in October, said improving the local economy will be his No. 1 priority in office.

&uot;I mainly want to see if we can get some type of industry to come here,&uot; Hollins said.

Hollins said he also wanted to complete the on-going Donegal Road project in District 2.

District 5 Supervisor W. G. Johnson said he wants to improve roads in his district, but opposes any property tax increases.

Supervisors voted 3-1 in September to cut 6 mills off the county’s property tax rate during the 2004 fiscal year.

A third of that cut was taken from the county-wide road fund.

District 3 Supervisor Jack Darden did not attend Tuesday’s ceremony, but was reached by telephone afterward. Darden echoed Johnson’s position on taxes and spending.

&uot;I want to see everybody stay within their budgets and help get the county out of the red,&uot; Darden said.

In September, the county faced a

deficit of $456,703 in its insurance fund, prompting supervisors to raise premiums for county employees and seek new insurance carriers.

District 1 Supervisor Mack Haynes stressed the need for board members to work together to solve problems such as illegal dumping in the county.

&uot;I’m going to work with every supervisor to get things done,&uot; Haynes said.

Attempts to contact District 4 Supervisor Robert Morgan after the ceremony were unsuccessful.

Other county officials sworn in at the ceremony included Tax Assessor Wevlyn I. James, Sheriff Reginald Jackson and Superintendent of Education Mildred McGhee.