The City of Leland Mayoral Election is just mere days away with incumbent Kenny Thomas and Brandon Taylor vying for the position.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Leland Health Department is the designated polling place for voters in Wards 1 and 2; the Leland Library — voters in Wards 3 and 4; and the Leland Rotary Club — voters in Ward 5.
To cast a ballot, voters must have a valid government-issued photo identification, which can include a driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, a passport, a government employee ID card, a firearms license, a student ID from any Mississippi college, a military ID or a Mississippi Voter identification card.
Thomas, who is nearing the end of his fourth term as mayor, has a combined 28 years of municipal government experience as he served on the Leland’s Board of Aldermen for 12 years.
Taylor, a Baylor University Alumni, has served on the Leland School District Board of Trustees since 2012 and currently serves as the board president.
Mayor Thomas and the current administration’s focus has been infrastructure.
He highlighted the construction of a brand new water well located at the intersection of Highways 61 and 82 and the completely rebuilt well located on North Broadway.
“We’re in pretty good shape as far as well wise, we’re going to concentrate on basically redoing sections of water pipe,” Thomas said, noting $800,000 worth of stimulus funding to potentially address the water pipes.
Leland currently has around 13 or 14 lift stations, also known as sewer pump stations, and each one is equipped with two motors that cut on and off automatically.
Thomas said the board and city workers have made it a priority by working the last six months to get those lift stations back where they need to be.
Streets and bridges are another priority of Thomas as he noted efforts he has made to get the Breisch St. bridge repaired by working with Washington County District 4 supervisor Mala Brooks.
Back in April, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the addition of Breisch St. to its list of bridges to be repaired by engineers using county funds.
There is no timetable set, however, for bridge repair completion as county bridges will take priority.
Thomas said after the consulting engineer inspected the bridge, it was estimated to cost between $850,000 to $900,000 for repair — a cost the city could not afford.
He pointed out an alternate bridge in the same neighborhood as the Breisch St. bridge that provides the necessary access.
Taylor said he is proud to have been born and raised in Leland and has always wanted to give back and make a difference in his community.
His decision to run for mayor was a conscious one he said as he has set his focus on helping Leland become a better Leland.
“I work hard for the children, the elderly and everybody in between,” Taylor said, adding that being a Masonic man was a life changing experience attributable to him being a better man than he already was.
Utility costs, specifically light bills, and the condition of the city’s water are two of the main issues he is seeking to address, along with affordable housing.
“Leland was established in 1886, so there’s no doubt in my mind that we have a situation with old lead pipes living in the ground,” Taylor said, citing President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan as it pertains to the removal of old lead pipes, Leland is primed for federal money to help with that project.”
Additionally, Taylor’s vision for the city includes a youth recreational center, a home for senior citizens, a new swimming pool, pay raises for city workers and a safety program.
Taylor is adamant that the city needs someone who truly cares its people, saying, “I proved that with my service to the school board; we’re moving the district in a positive direction and in saying so, hopefully we can attract some of the people to bring their families back and reenroll their kids.”
He drove importance of the renovation of parks so kids will have access to recreation and perpetual care for the elderly.
An issue that Taylor would like to waste no time addressing if elected is safer neighborhoods.
“No-one wants to get a phone call that one of their loved ones’ life has been taken through gun violence,” he said. “Leland is a small, tight-knit community and that should never be the situation in Leland where we have a cold case.”
Referring to the murder of Larry Fults Jr., he said, “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would see a former student in that state…we’ve got to make sure Leland is safe for every citizen and that we get these guns off the street.”