City officials’ move to more stringent rules concerning public comments at board meetings appears to be paying off. The January meeting went smoothly and business was handled in well under an hour even updates were given on several improvement projects.
There were only two personal appearances from the public.
Jerry Kennamore asked the city to pay about $900 for repairs to his car, alleging that a limb caused the damage after city utility workers trimmed limbs on a tree. However, city officials said that the tree was cut at the persistent request of Kennamore to improve satellite TV reception and city crews reported they picked up no limbs there after the initial cut.
Aldermen voted to take the matter under advisement.
The second appearance was by Terry Young, who is on the advisory committee for work on the city’s coming comprehensive plan.
He said he wanted to make sure aldermen were aware that planner Bob Barber had sent out a draft of the plan to solicit comments before it is more formally presented.
The deadline for comments is Jan. 10, he said, and added he could send them copies since they apparently were not on the mail-out list.
In another public matter, Mayor Tim Kent presented a plaque to the family of Clint Frazier, who died in the line of service several years ago. A memorial sign will be placed on Carter Avenue.
Most of the department business was taken up by the light, gas and water department, which has several projects underway.
Manager Bill Mattox received permission to pay for invoices and transfer funds with most of the project costs coming from various grants and some loans.
Mattox said the Marshall County natural gas expansion project was finally about done after work for more than a year and most of the line for the new wastewater treatment plan has been laid.
The new line goes from the present plant near the tennis complex north along the Tallahatchie River to a site west of what used to be North Street outside town. Work is now starting on the new treatment plant, which will only have one pool instead of the several at the old facility.
Aldermen also approved new emergency requests. One was for about $91,000 to repair and recondition a transformer at the Wellspring substation. The other was about $67,000 to rebuild a 25-year-old water well on Wesson Tate Drive.
The board approved hiring Andy Dillard for part-time work in administration at the light, gas and water department. Mattox said Dillard will eventually transition into full time.
Mattox also mentioned the purchase of the former Fred’s building that will house his offices, the police department and a courtroom and boardroom. “We have already started mitigation work and pretty soon the next step will be getting an architect,” he said.
Next, community development director Billye Jean Stroud amplified information about the progress of the comprehensive plan. She said that the planner, Bob Barber, still has been at the stage of meeting with the advisory committee only, and that a public presentation will follow.
She told aldermen that a representative of the National Park Service will visit the city Feb. 20 and 21. The representative is coming to look at possible development of the Little Tallahatchie River, but Stroud said that after she informed him about the extensive park areas along the river he may be able to include them as well.
Stroud said it may take a couple of years to see results because we first have to “get on their radar” and possible money may not be available until the next year but it’s too soon to tell yet.
Building Inspector Eric Thomas only had a couple of items to bring up in addition to the regular monthly report.
He said the planning and zoning board had given Willie Paul Poteet permission to split an oversized lot at 1114 Rosewood Drive to split into two regular lots.
He also received permission to sell a surplus Escalade no longer in use. The vehicle was originally seized by the police department and will be sold on the govdeals website the city appears to be using more.
In a somewhat new move being adopted by board, aldermen now have a consent agenda subsection of the main agenda. This includes routine items that usually appear each month and evoke little or no discussion. The only unusual items in this agenda was payment requests for the new airport terminal building nearing completion.
This section was approved by the board and is similar to a change in the Union County Board of Supervisors agenda. It has been used by the city school board for several years.
In action items, the board approved a resolution relating to defending the rights of preborn children.
They also extended a moratorium on extending water and sewer service outside the city for six months. Mayor Kent said this was at the request of planner Bob Barber, who suggested waiting to see the final approved land use plan within the comprehensive plan and being guided by that.
Finally, aldermen approved a list of unpaid municipal court fees and fines. This is because a new law allows the state to withhold unpaid fines from state income tax refunds. The only flaw in the law appears to be that a Social Security number is needed for each court case and not all defendants either had or provided those numbers.aldermen, beautification, Clint Frazier, New Albany, Union County, utilities