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Qualifying begins for Oxford Ward 1 alderman seat

Those wishing to toss their hat into the ring to run for Ward 1 alderman can start tossing.

On Tuesday, the Oxford Board of Aldermen adopted a resolution announcing the Ward 1 seat officially open after former alderman Jay Hughes resigned from his position last month to represent Oxford in the House of Representatives. Hughes won the District 12 House seat in November.

The special election will be held on Feb. 16 at the Oxford Conference Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Only voters living in Ward 1 will be able to vote. The winner of the election will serve as Ward 1 aldermen for the remainder or Hughes’ term that ends in June 2017. At that point, the alderman can decide to run again to retain the seat.

Those wishing to run can begin qualifying for the race today.

To run for the seat, a candidate must qualify at least 20 days prior to the special election, which will be on Jan. 26. Each candidate will file a petition with the city clerk’s office that will contain at least 50 signatures of support from residents living in Ward 1. Residents can sign more than one petition.

There is no fee to qualify, but candidates must live in Ward 1 to run.

All candidates will run on Feb. 16. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will face off during a runoff election to be held two weeks after the special election on March 1.

Even before the aldermen officially opened the qualifying period, a couple of people had already announced their intentions to run on social media.

Local attorney and entrepreneur Jordan Bankhead said he decided to run after Hughes had won the House seat election.

“I felt like someone needed to step up and provide the kind of hands-on and smart leadership (Hughes) provided,” Bankhead said. “We are in a critical period in Oxford’s development and it’s important that we get it right.”

Professional photographer Rick Addy said he would be qualifying this morning to run in the special election.

“I’m running for alderman in Ward 1 for a chance to give back to the community in which I’ve been raised and which I’m raising my family,” he said.

For more information on the race, call the City Hall Clerk’s Office at 236-1310.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

— Voted to change the zoning for less than an acre of land at the intersection of South Lamar Boulevard and Belk Boulevard Extended from Medical District to Neighborhood Business.

— Heard the first reading for an amendment to the master plan for Oxford Commons to reduce the number of roads and other changes.

— Heard the first reading of an ordinance regulating food trucks.

— Authorized Williams Engineering for design and construction services for sidewalks on Tommie Collie Jane Road.

— Approved request from Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi to allow the placement of flush mount cable markers along South Lamar and Azalea Drive.

— Accepted a bid for AMI meter installation.

— Heard the first reading for changes proposed to the city’s sign ordinance.

— Granted the Oxford Fire Department permission to apply for a $59,000 grant that if received, would go toward a new training center.

— Approved donating two vehicles to Isola and transferring a vehicle from Environmental Services to the Oxford Police Department and tabled a discussion on transferring a vehicle from the Tourism Department to Human Resources until the value of the vehicle can be determined.

– Accepted the resignation of City Clerk Lisa Carwyle and the appointment of Ashley Atkinson as interim city clerk.