| By Jason C. Mattox
A new era will begin in Sardis on July 5 when new city leaders are sworn in. It is an era that mayor-elect Alvis L. "Rusty" Dye hopes will be a prosperous one.
Dye was declared the city’s next mayor following the June 7 general election where he defeated former mayor Ernest L. "Lit" Scruggs by a two-to-one margin. Dye has served as Ward 4 Alderman for the past eight years.
The mayor-elect said he would like to thank the voters for their confidence in him to lead the city and added he has a lot of work to do.
Following his victory, Dye went to work almost immediately preparing for his new post.
"I have been in City Hall getting more information on some of our projects and getting ready for the job," he said.
"I know this is going to be a lot of work, but if we take the right steps the city will improve."
One of the first steps Dye intends to take is helping the city improve its tax base.
"The city has not had any substantial growth in a number of years," he said. "I think the last plant to locate here was United Plastics.
"The elderly population of Sardis doesn’t even pay taxes," he said.
Dye said the best way for the city to grow is to recruit more jobs.
"There is no question that we have people out there that need jobs," he said. "As city officials, all of us involved on the new board will be out there actively looking for someone that wants to locate here.
"One thing that I have said before and will say again is that a job is a job," Dye said. "Sure I would like to go out there and find a company that can employ 100 or more, but if someone wants to open a retail operation to create 10 new jobs, we’ll take it too."
Another aspect of the city Dye hopes to see improve is at its marina location.
"Skipper came in here and has put in a first class marina," he said. "It is going to be very important to the city that this project continue to grow.
"With the land we have out there, land is available and ready to be developed," Dye added. "With the amount of time and money the city has invested in the project, we all want to see it become a tourist destination."
Dye said he also wants to see members of the community come out and make their voice heard.
"We need to get the people of this city involved," he said. "It doesn’t matter if they just come to our board meetings and listen. The community needs to take an interest in how its city is being run."
Another way Dye would like to see the community become involved is with service organizations like the Boys and Girls Club.
"We have a really good club that works very hard to provide services to the young people of the city and keep them off the streets," he said.
"They are doing a good job, but they need help. They need volunteers.
"I really think the people of this city need to make every effort they can to have an impact on the young people," Dye added.
"They are the people who will be leading this city in the future, and we need to make sure they are prepared for it."