LaForge nurtures open door policy
by Denise Strub
May 15, 2013 | 1101 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Continuing his rounds through Bolivar County, Delta State University’s new president Dr. Bill LaForge was the first guest at Tuesday’s Cleveland Board of Aldermen meeting.

“It’s a pleasure to be here and come before you,” he started. “I want thank you for the warm welcome extended to my wife and me.

“I’m really excited about what’s going on at Delta State —one of those is town and gown relation,” said LaForge, reminding those present at city hall that he and Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell were longtime friends.

“We were classmates in high school and in college,” he said, adding that not only will the university have an open door policy to the community. “Delta State wants to extend itself to you. Our door is always open to you. My door is personally open to you.

“I’m looking forward to being part of this community. We want to work together, in collaboration, and support what you are doing.”

Laforge said the university is in need of more good students and it is doing its part in making that happen by improving its technology systems, such as adding high speed WiFi in all the dorms.

“We’re serious about what we’re doing,” he said.

LaForge said the university is in the middle of its budget planning for the next year.

He said despite the new state university allocation formula reducing Delta State’s budget by $400,000, DSU would start off with the same amount it did last year.

“They (legislature) added a line item for any university that lost money due to the new formula,” he said.

In other business, City Engineer Greg Korb said work is progressing right along with the new water meter system and that Siemens, the meter company, has about 81 one meters left to install.

He said there would be a training session next week on the system, which will include a master switch to disconnect water service.

“They’ll be able to just flip the switch instead of going to the house,” said Korb, explaining that 25 locations, whose owners have a habit of not paying their water bills, have been selected to be on this master switch.

“We can put more on it and swap them out.”

The board of aldermen voted to accept changes in the Grease Control Ordinance, which will ultimately save restaurant owners money.

Community Development Director Brett Moorman said restaurant owners would no longer have to apply for a new permit each year, “which can be costly. They just have to have a valid permit.

“Also we had decided to regulate grease haulers but they are regulated by the state.”