Ballot set for city elections

news-politics-election-stockCHICKASAW COUNTY – The slate of candidates for city offices across Chickasaw County has been set and the campaigning for city elections in Houston, Okolona, Houlka and Woodland has officially begun.

Several candidates for city offices waited until the Friday deadline to get on the ballot in their respective community for offices of mayor, aldermen and town marshal.

In both Houlka and Woodland, only one person ran for mayor and only five people ran for aldermen making all town races unopposed.

City races in Okolona have 18 people seeking eight spots while in Houston 13 people have thrown their hat in the ring for seven offices.

In Okolona all candidates have filed as Democrats while Houston has four people declaring for the Republican Party. In Houlka and Woodland all candidates filed as independents.

Candidates who declare a political party were required to pay a $10 application fee. Candidates who run as independents, do not pay a fee but must submit a petition with 50 signatures of qualified electors.

Candidates who have qualified in Houston, their position, political party, name and if they are an incumbent (i) are:

• Mayor – Democrat Stacey W. Parker (i), Democrat Terry Taylor.

• District 1 Alderman – Republican Raymond A. “Tony” Uhiren (i), Democrat, Bobby G. Mooneyham.

• District 2 Alderman – Democrat Shenia Kirby Jones (i).

• District 3 Alderman – Republican Frank Thomas (i), Republican Richard Cooper, Democrat Patricia Burgess Southerland.

• District 4 Alderman – Democrat Willie Gates McKinney (i)

• Alderman at Large – Democrat Barry Springer (i), Democrat Amy Simmons Gardner.

• City Marshal – Democrat Billy Voyles (i), Democrat Robert “Preacher” Ivy.

Candidates who have qualified in Okolona, their position, political party, name and if they are an incumbent (i) are:

• Ward 1 Alderman – Democrat Kenneth McVey (i), Democrat Leander Lee Wilson.

• Ward 2 Alderman – Democrat Bennett Moore (i), Democrat Judy T. Nichols.

• Ward 3 Alderman – Democrat Eldridge Lowe (i).

• Ward 4 Alderman – Democrat Imogene Armstrong (i), Democrat Regina Pickens, Democrat Jarvis Brumby, Democrat Teresa M. Price, Democrat Robert E. Shinn.

• Ward 5 Alderman – Democrat Mary L. Gates, Democrat Robert Matt Hughes (i), Democrat Tameka Gates.

• Ward 6 Alderman – Democrat Anthony Floyd (i).

• Mayor – Democrat Louise Floyd Cole (i), Democrat Sherman R. Carouthers.

• City Marshal – Democrat Tommie James Ivy (i), Democrat Willie C. Moore, Jr.

Houlka elects city aldermen at large with the five candidates getting the top number of votes being named alderman. Candidates who have qualified in Houlka, their position, political party, name and if they are an incumbent (i) are:

• Mayor – Independent Jimmy Kelly (i).

• Alderman – Independent Kim Murphree (i), Independent K.C. Gates (i), Independent Beverly Davidson (i), David Wiggs (i) and Independent Dustin Eaton.

Woodland elects city aldermen at large with the five candidates getting the top number of votes being named alderman. Candidates who have qualified in Woodland, their position, political party, name and if they are an incumbent (i) are:

• Mayor – Independnt Patti Watkins (i).

• Alderman – Independent Lorene Hamilton (i), Independent Reta Laney (i), Independent Linda Dendy (i), Independent Margaret Nelson (i), Independent Jo Bullard.

Municipal primary elections for differing political parties will be Tuesday, May 7, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at regular city polling precincts. Candidates must earn 50 percent of the vote, plus one vote, to be declared the winner of a primary election.

A runoff election among like political candidates – if needed – would be held May 21. The top candidates garnering 50 percent of the vote in the primary would face each other in the party runoff.

The general election – if needed — will be held June 4 and will pit party candidates for an overall winner to claim the post.

Primary and party elections have to be canvassed or certified by each respective party. The general election will be canvassed or certified by the Election Commission of each municipality.

Paychecks for aldermen in Chickasaw County’s four municipalities vary based on population and tax base.

Okolona pays its mayor and city marshal the best, but aldermen are paid less than cities of similar size. Okolona’s mayor is paid $32,000 a year or $2,666.67 a month. The city marshal of Okolona is paid $42,500 a year or $3,541.67 a year. Okolona aldermen are paid $300 a month or $3,600 a year. Okolona’s population was listed at 2,692 in the 2010 census.

Houston, with a 2010 population of 3,623, pays its mayor $27,500 annually or $2,291.67 a month. Houston’s city marshal is paid $38,522 a year or $3,210.17 a month. Aldermen are paid $600 a month or $7,200 annually.

Houlka pays its mayor $5,594 a year or $466.17 a month with aldermen making $175 a month or $2,100 a year. New Houlka’s population was 626 in the last census. The city police chief is appointed by the Board of Aldermen.

Woodland pays its mayor $125 a month or $1,500 a year. Woodland aldermen are paid $100 a month or $1,200 a year. City workers in Woodland are appointed by the Board of Aldermen.

Aldermen, city marshal and mayors in all four communities are also allowed a budgeted travel and mileage expense that must be approved by the city.

To qualify for municipal office, a candidate must be a registered voter of the municipality. Candidates may not have been convicted of a federal crime or certain Mississippi crimes defined as punishable by incarceration in a state penitentiary unless they have received a full pardon. They also may not be convicted of a crime in another state that is considered a felony under Mississippi law.

Candidates cannot have been legally declared mentally incompetent.

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