Mayor's Report

Jun 10

Vintage Signs

Posted on June 10, 2020 at 4:14 PM by Darren Musselwhite

The general purposes of a municipal sign ordinance are to ensure traffic safety and the aesthetic value of a city while citizens, businesses, and other organizations communicate their messages.  This is one of the most challenging ordinances for any city and sign ordinances have evolved tremendously over the years.  For many years, the City of Southaven has been extremely effective in improving the aesthetic value of our city with our current ordinance. 

As we continue with the challenge of revitalization in our original business district, older signs have presented different challenges than in other parts of our city.  It’s common that economic demand changes in the older, original areas of cities.  Southaven is not immune to this.  While many have replaced or removed old signs from vacated businesses, “grandfather clauses” and the cost of new signs has discouraged many businesses from replacing old, dilapidated signs with new, conforming signs.  We began questioning if our sign ordinance was effective or counterproductive to our revitalization goals.  During this re-evaluation, we received an excellent idea from one of our citizens, Ricky Neal, who shares our goal of revitalizing our original business district.  The basis for Ricky’s idea and proposal is that some businesses in this district cannot afford a fully-conforming sign and could be deterred from making the improvements that they can afford.  This would be counterproductive to our goal of revitalization.  For this reason, we took Ricky’s idea of allowing older or “vintage” signs to be changed without being fully replaced and amended our ordinance fairly and consistently for signs that are 30 years old or older.

The Vintage Sign Ordinance, which was officially adopted by our Board of Aldermen on June 2, 2020, will allow the re-facing and/or re-surfacing of these older signs without requiring full conformance.  We hope that this change will encourage businesses to improve their signs, leading to an improved aesthetic value and positive contribution to our general economic attractiveness.

May 22


Posted on May 22, 2020 at 4:59 PM by Darren Musselwhite

When I was elected Mayor of Southaven in 2013, and again in 2017, I swore to faithfully support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Mississippi and obey the laws thereof.  I have upheld this oath everyday I’ve been in office and will continue to until my last day.

When this crisis began in mid-March, no one knew the degree of risk that we faced which made it constitutionally-sound to implement temporary restrictions on personal liberties.  As upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times, government has the Constitutional right to restrain personal liberties temporarily during emergencies “under the pressure of great dangers” to protect “the safety of the general public”.  However, I must be straightforward in saying that I have serious concerns with liberties being restrained for this length of time, considering the real data we have now.*  This virus is dangerous to some, but does not threaten “the safety of the general public”.  99.98% of Mississippians have survived this pandemic to date.  I also have concerns about the discriminatory nature of government allowing some businesses and organizations to assemble and do business, but not others.  Again, as Mayor, I swore to support the laws of the State of Mississippi and support the Constitution of the United States.  When these two conflict, I’m in a situation that I never thought would become reality and must support the Constitution of the United States.

As the Chief Executive of the City of Southaven, I will enforce all state laws until they conflict with the Constitution of the United States.

Executive Orders #1487 and #1488 were issued today by Governor Reeves which extend the “Safer-at-Home” Order until Monday, June 1, 2020 at 8:00 AM.  Both Orders may be read in their entirety for all details, but the most notable changes are as follows:

SCHOOLS MAY OPEN WEIGHT ROOMS AND TRAINING FACILITIES may re-open with detailed hygiene, social distancing, and health-screening requirements.

OUTDOOR PLACES OF AMUSEMENT AND RECREATION may re-open with detailed hygiene, social distancing, and health-screening requirements with the number of customers being limited to 50% of the park’s maximum occupancy.

It remains extremely important that our citizens with underlying health conditions that place them at a higher risk use all precautions and safeguarding measures to protect themselves.  All citizens should continue to respect the dangers of COVID-19 as they resume their lives in a smart and safe way.

Most sincerely and respectfully,

Mayor Darren Musselwhite

*The Statistics…

Desoto County Fatalities per Capita = .003 of 1% (6/185,000)
Shelby County, TN Fatalities per Capita = .009 of 1% (88/937,000)
State of Mississippi Fatalities per Capita = .02 of 1% (596/2,976,000)

Executive Order 1488 Extended Safer at Home
Executive Order 1487
May 08


Posted on May 8, 2020 at 4:50 PM by Melitta Duncan

Today, Governor Reeves announced that he is extending his “Safer-at-Home” Order until Monday, May 25, 2020 at 8:00 AM with Executive Order 1480 which will be the official source of all details.  He asked all Mississippians to continue to take this virus seriously as we still face health risks.  He acknowledged that we are now facing serious economic damages and must continue with a phased re-opening.

ALL FROM HIS LAST ORDER REMAINS UNCHANGED except the following changes that will be effective immediately, today, May 8, 2020:

SALONS and BARBER SHOPS (which interpreted by Southaven will also include tattoo parlors) may open with strict hygiene, health screening, and social distancing measures, including requiring only one patron per employee/server at a time; all patrons 6-feet apart; no indoor waiting area; mandatory facial coverings of the mouth and nose by both server and patron as well as gloves by server.

GYMS (which interpreted by Southaven will also include dance/gymnastics/martial arts studios and all other indoor athletic training facilities) may open with an occupancy limitation of 30% capacity and strict hygiene, health screening, and social distancing measures.


As stated previously, all other remains unchanged which limits all other indoor gatherings to 10 persons or less and outdoor gatherings to 20 persons or less.

I have requested clarification from the Governor’s Office regarding physical, “in-person” church services, but have not received any update and this new order has not changed anything.  His initial order, which is still in effect, says:

“Religious entities, including religious and faith-based facilities, entities and groups, and religious gatherings are essential provided that they adhere to the CDC and the Mississippi Department of Health recommendations and guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The Mississippi Department of Health continues to state that “in-person” church services are not safe and that social distancing and limiting gatherings to 10 people or less is critical.

It’s my goal to give clarity to our churches and all citizens, but I’ve not been provided with any other details other than this information.  I will continue to reach out to the Governor’s Office and provide updates as they are given to me.

As I’ve stated repetitively, our data does not warrant continuing to restrain our economy and lives and I will continue pressing for a broader re-opening and return to full recovery.          

You have made tremendous sacrifices and showed your toughness and resilience.  We are on the brink of a great recovery!  Let’s continue to be smart while we claim our lives back!

It’s time!

With the most concern and respect,

Mayor Darren Musselwhite