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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — A decision on a $5 million bond issue for a major Columbus street and sidewalk project will have to wait.

The City Council tonight put off action while it works with city project manager Robyn Eastman to finalize a list of projects and priorities.

The resolution calling for the bonds requires such a plan. Council members received a draft late last week but haven’t completed it.

Mayor Robert Smith also was out of town this week delaying more discussions.

Council members also must decide whether to divide the roughly $4.5 million — $5 million minus about $500,000 in engineering and legal fees — available for actual work equally among wards or set citywide priorities.

Action is expected at their June 3 meeting.

The bonds will require a 1.1 mill property tax increase starting this fall. But under the 20-year payment structure, the city should be able to start setting side $300,000 a year for regular street maintenance starting in 2017.

Even with the two-week delay, the council hopes to be able to start work as early as late July.

The Council also didn’t discuss naming a police chief and a search committee likely won’t interview internal candidates Tony Carleton, the interim chief, and Captain Fred Shelton until all members are in town after June 3.

Thjat also will give council members a chance to gauge internal and external reaction to how Carleton, the former Tupelo chief who left that job when city administrations changed and was hired in Columbus last fall, handles the interim job.

The council did officially swear in Martin Andrews as the city’s first full-time African-American fire chief, bringing a standing ovation from the Council, the department’s command staff and those attending the meeting.

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