MEETING OF AUGUST 20, 2019
it remembered that the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Ocean Springs
met in a Recess Meeting at City Hall in the City of Ocean Springs at 6:00 p.m.
on August 20, 2019. The Mayor presiding,
Aldermen Cox, Gill, Authement, Bellman, Papania, Blackman and Impey were
present. Also present were City Clerk
Patty Gaston and City Attorney Kevin Melchi.
Mayor called the meeting to order.
Mike Barnett gave the invocation and the Mayor led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Holley with the Ocean Springs Adult Softball League thanked the Mayor and the
Board of Aldermen for supporting the Back the Blue Robert McKeithen Memorial
Tournament. He also said the Ocean Springs Adult Softball League has not been
able to play or practice in Ocean Springs. He asked that the City host
tournaments at the Hwy. 57 Sports Complex as a revenue stream and tourism benefit
for the City. He talked about the price difference in using the D’Iberville
fields vs the Hwy. 57 Sports Complex fields. Alderman Blackman thanked Eric for
hosting the event and asked him to get with the Parks & Recreation Director
to work out details of future use of the facility.
Bishop and Nancy Wilson gave a presentation about climate change. They said
that climate change is the number one threat to our global economy. They asked
that the City look at Georgetown, Texas as a benchmark for changes that could
take place in Ocean Springs as Georgetown is now 100% renewable energy. They
asked the Mayor and Board of Alderman to consider forming an Environmental
Committee, to think globally but act locally.
Aiken, CPA from AVL – Alexander, Van Loon, Sloan, Levens, Favre, PLLC presented
the City audit for fiscal year ending September 30, 2018. She said AVL did not
experience any difficulties during overview of fiscal year ending September 30,
2018. She explained the annual financial report is historical in nature and is
an unmodified opinion audit. She stated that no significant deficiencies or
material weaknesses were reported in the fiscal year 17-18 audit. Motion was
made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to
accept the audit presented by AVL.
Gill, CFO of the Ocean Springs School District presented the ad valorem request
for the FY 19-20 Budget (Exhibit 4-b). The City Clerk calculated the millage
change to be a 0.37 decrease, which she said is due to debt payment fluctuation
and operation is remaining at 55 mills with the total request being 66.59
mills. Alderman Impey recognized Superintendent Coleman and thanked the School
Board for the excellent job done with Ocean Springs being one of the top school
districts in the state. Dr. Coleman responded by inviting all to the first
football game in the new stadium on Friday and said the official ribbon cutting
invitation will be coming soon. Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by
Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to accept the Ocean Springs School
City Attorney said that there was previous discussion on feather flags and that
they are not currently specifically regulated, so he drafted an ordinance
change for review (Exhibit 4-c). The Planning Commission reviewed the draft
ordinance and requested that it be considered that every tenant in a
multi-tenant parcel would be allowed to have one flag. Alderman Blackman said
he was under the impression of the previous discussion that they were not going
to allow them at all. The Mayor said that he just did not want the Board
policing the speech on the signs. Alderman Cox said although they do tend to
become in disrepair quickly, small business owners are struggling to get
attention. He suggested that feather flags be limited with restrictions but not
removed completely. Alderman Papania
said he thinks that it’s a hard balancing act in maintaining the appearance of
the City. He feels that if they are allowed, they should be regulated to be in
good repair and limited in number allowed at each parcel. Alderman Cox said
rather than each tenant in a multi-tenant parcel, only have two at entrances.
Currently the ordinance reads that on Highway 90, two feather flags would be
allowed. The Mayor asked that the adoption of the proposed ordinance for
feather flags be tabled so that the Board could review it more carefully.Motion was made by Alderman Cox,
seconded by Alderman Bellman and unanimously carried to table Ordinance; An
Amendment to the UDC; amending certain section regarding signage in commercial
Gill welcomed the citizens present from Fort Bayou Estates to voice their
opinion regarding a potential land acquisition in their neighborhood discussed
in executive session. He said that at the July 16, 2019 meeting a motion was
made to obtain an appraisal for land. He said that land appraisal is for the
land adjacent to the boat ramp in Fort Bayou Estates which was done behind his
back, without his approval. He said the purpose of purchasing the land would be
to divert traffic from Downtown to the boat ramp. He apologized to the other
Aldermen for being so upset that night. He said word started to spread around
Fort Bayou about the appraisal, that he went door to door and there was a
petition going around against the land acquisition with 73 signatures. He said
the residents on Bristol Blvd. are especially against it because of the
increased traffic it would cause. The Mayor said that the City will talk about
potential land acquisitions and pie in the sky ideas which most people don’t
know about since they never materialize. He continued by saying, this property became available and was brought
into executive session so that no misinformation was let out, no plans have
been made other than getting an appraisal to determine if the property is even
feasible for the City to purchase. A potential use for the property would be
for overflow parking to stop the current parking on Bristol Blvd. with a buffer.
If the appraisal was feasible, the neighborhood would be included in
discussions at that point but the information should not have left executive
session. Alderman Gill asked the residents to come up and address the Board
with their concerns.
Magee spoke against any expansion in Fort Bayou and said he had formed a
petition. He said there are four reasons stated on the petition. First, is the
increased traffic on Bristol Blvd. Second, it is an unsafe reduction in quality
of life, it is more than a boat ramp it is actually called The Percy Miller
Marine Education Park. Third, it would be a detrimental impact to the natural
environment. Finally, there is currently a problem of vandalism and criminal
activity that would only increase with expansion. Motion was made by Alderman
Gill, seconded by Alderman Bellman and unanimously carried to enter the
petition into the minutes (Exhibit 4-d).
Martin spoke against any expansion in Fort Bayou Estates. She said she was
appalled by the thought of this property being considered and feels this is an
infringement on their fair use and enjoyment right of their private property.
She said any expansion would be a detriment to families in the neighborhood.
She added that ten years previously a generous family bought all the marshland
to keep it out of City hands and to prevent a fishing pier from being added to
Fort Bayou Estates.
Warren said that his property would be affected the most. He has heard all
types of rumors of how the property would be utilized. He wants to hear every
option before giving an opinion for or against expansion. He does want to
protect his property and the integrity of the neighborhood. He asked if a
committee could be formed to analyze the different options for the property.
Blackman said that if the appraisal is feasible for the City to purchase then
we would enter the planning phase which will include community input. The Mayor
said that when he spoke to the people who called him about the issue and
explained the actualities and facts, the callers said they regretted signing
the petition or that they still have questions before forming an opinion. The
Mayor apologized to all for the misunderstanding that there would not be any
Seymour Brunning said she sent a letter to the Mayor and the Board on August 9,
2019, opposed to any expansion in Fort Bayou Estates. She recommended that if
the property was purchased, it should be used as a storm water buffer for the
neighborhood. She later added that the Board members need to see the area after
a bad rain.
Gill said that the residents do not want any expansion in Fort Bayou Estates.
Motion was made by Alderman Gill and seconded by Alderman Papania to stop any
further action toward the purchase of the discussed property in Fort Bayou
Estates. The motion carried with Aldermen Gill, Bellman, Papania and Impey
voting aye and Aldermen Authement, Cox and Blackman voting nay.
Impey said that they all support their wards, but it is necessary when Aldermen
talk to their people to give them the facts.
Authement stated that building along the Gulf Coast is booming and especially
on waterfront lots. He said his reason for considering buying the property, is
because if a house is built there he feels it will be a problem for the police
department. He also said he does not expect that property to be vacant forever
and will have to be built 8’-10’ above the ground.
Harrell said she is opposed to expanding the boat ramp. She said they already
put up with terrible things happening there, like empty syringes. She said she
would never take a little child there because the City can’t afford to put
lights up and stop some of this illegal activity.
Thiele said that Kay Brunning was correct in saying that after a hard rain the
area floods. He does not want the current buffer zone clear cut. He also asked
about where the funds would be received from to buy the property? The Mayor
responded that it would be from Tideland Funds. Scott said it should be used on
sewer and storm drains rather than the property.
Martin spoke again and said that the Gulf Coast Research Lab has multiple boat
launches and is begging for funds. She feels it would be better to move the
project there rather than their neighborhood. She then complained about the
homeless population at the boat launch and the woods. She said that in the last
two weeks two homeless persons were picked up from her family property going
from the boat launch to Twelve Oaks through the woods. The Mayor said that some
would argue that removing the wooded area would deter the homeless in the area.
Mayor said a resident has concern of the intersection of Nottingham Road and
Diller Road and would like a three way stop added. He asked the other residents
their input but no one responded. Alderman Gill said that he has already spoken
to the Police Chief about the placement of a three way stop there.
Mayor began the discussion on a possible lease increase for 1491 Deana Road
since there has been no increase since 2013. The Interim Fire Chief said
Acadian Ambulance is leasing the property but doesn’t use for much more than
storage currently. Alderman Blackman asked if they are not using the property,
would the City be able to use the building and land as a fire training
facility. The Interim Fire Chief said that 2 acres of land would be needed for
the training facility and that parcel would not be useful unless part of the
football field at Gay Lemon was used. The Parks & Recreation Director said
that initially after the Acadian Ambulance lease was up the property would be
utilized as a dance studio. Alderman Cox said as long as it is used and
bringing in some revenue, even if lower than market value he would rather see
it occupied. He would like to see a renegotiation of the lease but keep Acadian
Ambulance as tenants. Alderman Blackman requested to research the market value
of the property.
Allen from HOSA, Historic Ocean Springs Association, introduced the other
officers and discussed plans for the upcoming year so that they can be included
in the budget. She said HOSA has four main priorities and the growth of the
area has required them to come before the Board for action. First, increased
protection and care for the Ocean Springs tree canopy. They are requesting
appropriation of funds for trimming and care on a systematic basis for the tree
canopy on Washington Ave. Second, is to consider supporting the planning of
Porter Avenue using a citizen and stakeholder plan. There is an initial price
tag of $12,000.00 and they have fundraised approximately $3,000.00 so far and
would like a public contribution for the Porter Avenue plan. Third, to continue
the partnership in the care and revitalization of Marshall Park. Forth, for the
City to continue to support and encourage the vibrant creative economic health
of our economy. She ended with a list of the $700,000 worth of projects that
HOSA has provided the City of Ocean Springs over the last 30 years. The
Planning & Grants Administrator said the City has been working on
development of Porter Avenue Project.
Authement said with hurricane season heating up, a decision needs to be made
regarding the selection of a debris monitoring company. He explained no cost
would be incurred unless there was a storm event and then most of the cost
would be reimbursable. Motion was made by Alderman Authement, seconded by
Alderman Bellman and unanimously carried to award debris monitoring contract to
City Attorney said he drafted an ordinance to adjust school zones by resolution
rather than having to amend the ordinance each time. Motion was made by
Alderman Blackman and seconded by Alderman Gill to adopt an ordinance; an amendment
to the Code of Ordinances for the City of Ocean Springs, MS regarding
establishment of school speed zones, finding this is an immediate public and
safety need to go into effect immediately (Exhibit 5-b). The motion carried
with a roll call vote as follows:
Alderman Gill Aye
Blackman requested the footage from Public Works, from halfway between Still
Water Subdivision and Cabildo Place on Hanshaw Road. Motion was made by
Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to adopt a
resolution of the City of Ocean Springs, MS to extend the school speed zone
near Ocean Springs Middle School (Exhibit 5-c)
was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Impey and unanimously carried
to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of item 6-r which was removed
by Alderman Bellman.
Bellman asked the Planning & Grants Administrator to clarify the contract
agreement with James Foster for Resident Project Representative. She explained
that the KCDBG project requires oversite that is not currently included in our
engineering contract. She said that there is a need for a part time Project
Representative for the project and Mr. Foster is familiar with project and what
is needed. The projects total more than $2,000,000 and require a great deal of
paperwork. Alderman Papania asked if she consulted Overstreet Engineering or
BMA Engineering to get their services rather than going outside of the City
Engineers. She responded that it is not an engineering position and does not
necessarily require an engineer but is an administrator for oversite or a
project manager but not engineering work. Alderman Papania requested that
because Mr. Foster is working with Overstreet Engineering, she discuss
utilizing his services through them. Aldermen Papania, Bellman and Gill agreed
was that the item should not have been included in consent agenda but up for
was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried
to approve the Docket of Claims, the Board finds that all expenses are lawful
and appropriate (Exhibit 7-a).
Lewis said it is upsetting that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial near the walking
track only has two port-o-lets but the Dog Park will have two bathrooms and pavilions.
As a 30 year veteran and Vietnam veteran, it is upsetting that the War Memorial
does not have a bathroom but so much money has been put toward the Dog Park. He
also asked who will take care of the geese and other animal feces.
Warren, 1116 Thompson Bayou Drive, said he appreciates the Board beginning the
meeting with the pledge and a prayer. He said he noticed at his home the grass
had been killed between the sidewalk and the curb. He then noticed it happened
throughout his neighborhood and another neighborhood near Waters Edge. He was
told the City had drove by and sprayed herbicide. He found out Trailblazer Maxx
was used, which is basically Round Up, was used in a residential area. He said
the City did the damage and wants it repaired. The Public Works Director
explained that one of his employees over sprayed the area, they have been
reprimanded and it will not happen again. Mr. Warren said he would like his
area replaced and used as a training session for the men that created the issue
to see what could happen. The Mayor said he would get with the Public Works
Director to work out a plan and call Mr. Warren.
Lee said she works and worships at MLK Park and was told the basketball court
will get a sunshade at a July 10, 2019 community meeting by the Mayor and Parks
& Recreation Director. She said the cost was approximately $90,000. She
said she feels as if MLK Park is not treated as well as other parks in the
City. She said that MLK Park is the only park in the City with only one restroom
and there are no mirrors in the restroom. They would like some other basic
items addressed before a sunshade. Including, two restrooms, or at least up
upkeep of the current restroom, sanitary water fountains, replacement of the
rusted grill, the pavilion is rotting, there are no lines on the basketball
court now, and there is mildew all over the park.
Gipson said he would like to see the basic needs and wants addressed before a
shade structure is erected. He reiterated Kim Lee’s list of issues and basic
necessities that are needed for use of the funds. He would like the mold
sprayed off the bathroom and a sign for the times the restroom would be opened
and closed. They are requesting the reallocation of funds for the shade
structure to be used for resurfacing of the basketball court, the restrooms,
the pavilion, lighting and the grill. They understand that their wish list may
not be completly fulfilled but they would like some of the items taken care of
Parks & Recreation Director addressed some of their concerns. She agreed
that there should be a men’s and women’s restroom at the park and she has been
working on a plan to get an additional bathroom. She said that her department
is under staffed and that would be the reason for the mold and mildew buildup.
She said vandalism and theft is a problem at MLK Park. She explained the other
parks in the City have outside groups that fundraise and invest in upgrades in
the other community parks. She said that since she has been the director upgrades
have been made to MLK as well as other parks. She added that she has not
received any community input on the needs of the park until now. She also said
that not all parks in the City have restrooms. The City Clerk explained that
moving forward the budget will show funds for each park. Alderman Gill asked The Parks &
Recreation to bring any additional fund needs for MLK Park, the Board would
ensure that all could be completed. Alderman Authement added that he had an
opportunity to view the restrooms and tour MLK Park; and he feels they should
reallocate the funds from the shade structure to completing the list of needed
items for MLK Park.
Gill said there is a street light at Diller Road and Queen Elizabeth Drive that
is not working but he is unsure if it is SREPA or Mississippi Power. Alderman
Blackman responded that if it is a SREPA pole then it will be labeled with "OS”
plus a number.
Authement asked the Mayor, Deputy Building Official and the City Attorney to
have a meeting at the beginning of the week regarding Rue Rivage. He also asked
about tree removal applications and Tree Protection Committee bylaws and rules.
The Deputy Building Official said they are working with the Planning &
Grants Administrator to establish guidelines and procedures and have a training
session with the Tree Protection Committee.
Bellman asked the Parks & Recreation Director about their excavator, who
can drive it, and what is it used for. She responded they do have one, they
have several operators and it is used for a variety of projects. He then asked
if it is not being used, can Public Works use it? She responded that if the
excavator is not being used then of course Public Works could use it.
Cox asked the Parks & Recreation Director about the stretching equipment at
Freedom Field getting standing water during a rain. She said yes, it is being
addressed in the upcoming year’s budget. He then requested the Public Works
Director to repair the lights at the American Legion Post, as both are out. He
then suggested that the cross walk at the Fort Maurepas be moved to another
location, since the slime builds up there. The Mayor said he would look at it
this week to see where it could be moved or what they could do to correct the
Papania thanked the Parks & Recreation Director for the sign at the Inner
Harbor Park. He also thanked the Fire Department for taking the initiative for
making some vehicle repairs on their own and saving the City some funds. He
thanked the Deputy Building Official for taking care of a situation on Hunter
Drive. He then asked the Public Works Director to add a 3-D crosswalk at the
YMCA on Government Street.
Impey said Ward 6 has two parks that do not have restrooms or water fountains
but he thanked the Parks & Recreation Director for the work that has been
was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to
go into closed session to determine the necessity of going into executive
Deputy City Clerk returned to the meeting and announced a motion was made by
Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to remain in
executive session to discuss personnel in the Supervision & Finance
was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously
carried to come out of executive session.
City Clerk reminded the Board that if the possible increase in the millage is
not ran in the newspaper, they will not be able to increase the millage if
needed. The Mayor recommended that the advertisement be ran and they will then
determine if an increase is needed. The City Attorney said it must read "notice
of tax increase and public hearing on proposed budget and proposed tax levy for
the City of Ocean Springs”.
was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously
carried to adjourn the meeting until 6:00 p.m. on September 3, 2019.
ended at 9:34 p.m.
Gaston_____________ __/s/Shea Dobson__________