RECESS MEETING OF JULY 16, 2019
Be 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 July 16, 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.
The Mayor called the meeting to order.
Alderman Papania gave the invocation and the Mayor led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Impey and unanimously carried to accept the Addendum to the Agenda.
Scott Stradtner from the Census Bureau spoke about the importance of forming a Complete Count Committee and the need to create a partnership with the City of Ocean Springs to get a complete count for the most financial benefit to the city for the next ten years. He asked the City of Ocean Springs for a proclamation, to agree to partner and to form a committee to get a complete count with members from the community and city leaders.
The Mayor gave a memo to the Aldermen with potential projects to be eligible for money from the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund. Alderman Gill said the list was not made up by the Board of Aldermen as a whole and he feels like the entire Board should have had input. The Mayor responded that the list has been discussed in several board meetings, with the Planning & Grants Administrator and at various times with the community, board and city employees. He said he is requesting that the 1515 Government Street parking garage be the priority and if only one is chosen, he would like it to be that particular project. The Planning & Grants Administrator said the list was compiled of projects that would qualify based on the criteria for the fund. Alderman Papania said that he agrees with Alderman Gill that the entire board needs to vet each proposed project and the public private partnership is worrisome. Alderman Gill is against demolishing the old Police Station since over $300,000 was used to restore it. Alderman Impey said that the Planning & Grants Administrator has sent several emails regarding the projects to each of the Aldermen and it was each of their responsibility to review the information and provide input. He said that Representative Zuber has been involved and the projects are limited by specific criteria and the Board has to be in unanimous agreement for the resolution for the projects. Alderman Gill said he would like to have a work session to discuss the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund projects this week. Alderman Blackman said we have to rely on our city employees that are aware of all of the criteria and take their information to form a decision. Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously carried to have a work session to discuss the projects for the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund.
Motion was made by Alderman Gill and seconded by Alderman Bellman to reappoint Ken Papania as Mayor Pro Tempore. Motion was tied with Aldermen Gill, Authement and Bellman voting aye, and Aldermen Cox, Bellman and Impey voting nay. Alderman Papania abstained from the vote. Motion failed with the Mayor breaking the tie and voting nay.
Motion was made by Alderman Cox and seconded by Alderman Impey to appoint Alderman Blackman as Mayor Pro Tempore. The motion passed with Aldermen Cox, Gill, Authement, Bellman, Papania, and Impey voting aye; Alderman Blackman abstained from the vote.
The Deputy City Clerk announced that Timothy Fink and Joseph McCormick, were appointed to the Planning Commission at the Special Call Meeting that was held just before the Recess Meeting tonight. Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to appoint Lauren Braden, Margaret Rucinski, Sara Smyth Jacobs and Barbara Smith to the Tree Protection Committee, effective July 18, 2019, terms expiring June 30, 2022.
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of items 5-y and A-2a.
Alderman Cox said that in item A-2a the word "water” needs to be changed to "drainage” in the resolution at each occurrence of the word. Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to approve the resolution to request aid from Jackson County for purchase of materials necessary to provide drainage along Bills Avenue.
Item 5-y is a request for the waiver of rental fees for a benefit tournament at the Ocean Springs Sports Complex. The City Attorney explained that rental fees can only be waived for a 501(c)(3) but he had drafted a resolution that puts the fees under the advertising city resources banner. Motion was made by Alderman Papania, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to adopt a resolution to sponsor an event for Austin Conner (Exhibit 5-y).
The Mayor & Board of Aldermen’s Executive Assistant explained the need for guidelines to issue special event permits, run/walk permits and what is needed in different situations. The Aldermen said insurance is not required unless the streets are blocked but a hold harmless would be beneficial. They said that any event in question should be presented to the City Attorney for the legalities.
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to approve the Docket of Claims, the Board finds that all expenses are lawful and appropriate (Exhibit 6-b).
The City Clerk explained that a water charge for 219 Washington Avenue was due to a city error. Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Authement and unanimously carried to authorize a credit in the amount of $86.00 for water billing at 219 Washington Avenue due to unforeseen circumstances and the customer did not receive the benefit of the utility.
The Mayor and the Board thanked Police Captain Vince Spiriti for his years of service. Motion was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to accept Police Captain Vince Spiriti’s retirement effective July 31, 2019 and allow the purchase of his duty weapon for $1.00; Serial #BFHB563 (Exhibit 6-c).
The Public Works Director said that there were previous plans to run a waterline to the end of Knapp Road but the previous property owner refused to allow the city access. The current property owner is now willing to pay for half of the material cost for the water line extension to 3601 Knapp Road. Motion was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously carried to approve the waterline extension for 3601 Knapp Road and allow the property owner to pay for half of the cost of materials for the extension (Exhibit 6-d).
The Parks & Recreation Director spoke about the Art & Culture Coordinator Steve Burtt and his contribution to the City of Ocean Springs through the pottery program he has grown in the city. Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to accept Art & Culture Coordinator Steve Burtt’s retirement effective October 31, 2019 (Exhibit 6-e).
The Parks & Recreation Director requested $20,000 from 2% funds for the Dog Park amenities, although she does not expect to spend the entire amount as there is a donation committee that will be contributing to some of the cost as well. Also, there was discussion of the Parks Superintendent beginning work on the bathrooms at the Dog Park and having a timeline of when it could be complete. The Parks & Recreation Director, the Parks Superintendent, the Mayor and Dog Park Engineer Jason Overstreet will get together Thursday afternoon to establish a plan. Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to allow up to $20,000.00 for Dog Park amenities from 2% funds.
The Parks & Recreation Director said there has been a sketch of gates given to the Aldermen and there is a citizen that would like to donate the gates. Motion was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to accept the donation of gates for the Dog Park.
The Parks & Recreation Director gave the Aldermen a print out of the proposed logo for the Dog Park. Motion was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to accept the logo for the Ocean Springs Dog Park.
The City Attorney asked the Board of Aldermen to give input on the feather flags draft ordinance before the public hearing.
Renee Oliver, 916 State Street, thanked the Mayor and the Board for getting Robinson Street paved. She said she recently moved back home to Ocean Springs and is currently writing a book about moving home.
Brooks McKay, Ocean Springs School District Director of Operations, and Chris Lebatard, Principal of Pecan Park Elementary School, asked the Board for a variance/exception in the sign ordinance so that Pecan Park can install an LED sign for the betterment of the community and the students. The Planning & Grants Administrator said they have been working on getting an exception for school signage since schools are a public service and should be in a different category. The Board asked the City Attorney to meet with them to discuss what could be done.
Alderman Gill said he does not want a Finance Committee, he thinks it should be all seven Aldermen and the Mayor to balance the budget, not just three Aldermen. He does not have a problem with the HR Committee and making appointments tonight. Motion was made by Alderman Gill and seconded by Alderman Papania to dissolve the Finance Committee. The motion passed with Aldermen Gill, Authement, Bellman, and Papania voting aye and Aldermen Cox, Blackman and Impey voting nay.
Aldermen Impey, Bellman and Papania volunteered for the HR Committee. Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to appoint Aldermen Impey, Bellman and Papania to the Human Resources Committee.
The Parks & Recreation Director said that she found both committees to have a very big purpose in the City. As a Director, if she felt like the committee did not vote in the direction she thought it should, she did have additional resources with the Board of Aldermen and all had a voice in decisions. The committees were just a recommending body, they were able to sort through all the information and then submit to the Board for a final decision.
Alderman Authement asked Public Works if there is a timeline on the Government Street lights yet. The Mayor said that he would have more information next week.
Alderman Papania thanked Public Works for cleaning up East Beach. He requested Public Works and the Fire Department to coordinate to spray off sand from East Beach Drive. The Mayor & Board of Aldermen’s Executive Assistant said she has been in contact with a contractor that wanted to donate his services as a pressure washer and she would reach back out to him to utilize his services on East Beach. He then asked the Interim Fire Chief if it was necessary to send out the ladder truck on medical calls. The Interim Fire Chief said that if the call is on the west side of town, the only truck available is the ladder truck. He then asked the Public Works Director to pick up the signs in right of ways and bring to City Hall.
Alderman Impey gave praise to the Parks & Recreation Department, Fire Department and the Police Department for the fireworks show being successful and well-coordinated. He suggested that next year we may need to investigate limiting the fireworks on the beach by the public.
Motion was made by Alderman Papania, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to go into closed session to determine the necessity of going into executive session.
The City Clerk returned to the meeting and announced a motion was made by Alderman Impey and seconded by Alderman Gill to remain in executive session to discuss potential acquisition of property. The motion passed with Aldermen Gill, Authement, Bellman, Papania, Blackman and Impey voting aye; Alderman Cox was not present at the time motion was made.
Motion was made by Alderman Authement and seconded by Alderman Blackman to obtain an appraisal of land being considered for purchase; the specific address being withheld due to the sensitivity of negotiation. The motion passed with Aldermen Authement, Cox, Blackman and Impey voting aye; and Aldermen Gill, Bellman, and Papania voting nay.
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to come out of executive session.
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting until 6:00 p.m. on August 6, 2019.
Meeting ended at 8:21 p.m.
_/s/Patty Gaston _________ __/s/Shea Dobson_________
City Clerk Mayor
_August 6, 2019__________ _August 6, 2019__________