By CARL SMITH
The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors accepted two letters of resignations from elected county officials during its Monday meeting
Oktibbeha County Tax Assessor and Collector Pat Kight and District 1 Supervisor Carl Clardy both tendered resignations effective before the new year. Allen Morgan, who won the tax assessor’s race Nov. 8, will step into the role Dec. 1, while Clardy will step aside Dec. 31 and be replaced by District 1 Supervisor-elect John P. Montgomery.
Kight, who was planning to retire at the end of her term, said she made her decision to step aside last week after speaking with the state retirement board.
Both Kight and Morgan said the early transition will prevent issues from developing with end-of-the-year tax collections.
“I think the collector needs to be out there during tax collecting time. A lot of people want to pay their taxes before the end of the year,” Kight said. “I felt like it was only fair to the tax payers that they be able to go ahead and pay their taxes and have the new person’s name on the books.”
“With both of us working together, we both came to a decision to try not to create tax problems with December,” Morgan said. “I was thinking (my first day) was going to be the first Monday of January, but we’re going to try to have a smooth transition with no interruptions of service.”
Kight said she is appreciative to the people of Oktibbeha County and is glad she could help them to the best of her abilities in a position that typically isn’t favored by most.
“It’s not the most thought of job out there — taking money away from people — but I’ve enjoyed being there with people,” she said. “I did everything I could to help and treat people fairly.”
In acknowledging his resignation, Clardy thanked his constituents again for their 12 years of support.
“Carl has been a great supervisor and definitely worked hard for the county. He’ll be missed,” board President Marvell Howard said. “I’m confident that John will be able to step in with the board and continue his work for District 1.”
Supervisors also unanimously approved a new vicious dog ordinance for the county following a second public hearing on the matter.
While approximately 10 members of the public were on hand for the hearing, only two people asked for minor clarifications on the wording of the ordinance.
“Several (people) have thanked us for publishing this ordinance to the website,” Howard said. “We’re trying to be proactive in this matter. I’m very, very pleased we were able to go ahead and get the dog ordinance passed. It’s definitely needed in Oktibbeha County and is a step in the right direction.”
The new ordinance will take effect 30 days following its third publication in local media outlets.
County Administrator Don Posey said he hopes to have the ordinance published by the start of next week.
In other business, EMCC President Rick Young asked the board for financial help to offset costs of the school’s trip to Yuma, Ariz., for the NJCAA national championship.
The No. 2 EMCC Lions will face the top-ranked Arizona Western Matadors at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, for the championship.
On Dec. 1, EMCC players, trainers, coaches, managers, senior staff and family will fly to Arizona, a trip which will cost $139,000. Three buses have also been reserved to transport the band and others to the game, while a tractor trailer will ship equipment to Yuma.
“We need to have as much support as possible,” Young said. “This is one of the best groups of athletes I’ve ever been around. You should be proud knowing they’re representing you. We need all the help we can get. This is your school, and it’s doing good things.”
Supervisors agreed to look into ways to help the school out with travel expenses.
Young said he has been and will continue to talk to other government bodies, businesses and industries in the area to solicit financial help.
“It’s not every day that we have a team in the Golden Triangle that has the opportunity to play for a national championship. We want to be as supportive as we possibly can be,” Howard said. “I was actually a little taken back when (Young) said what the price of that plane ride is, but that’s still a great accomplishment.”