RECESS MEETING OF MARCH 18, 2020
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 March 18, 2020. The Mayor presiding, Aldermen Cox, Gill, Authement, Bellman, Papania, and Impey were present. Alderman Blackman was absent. Also present were City Attorneys Nicole Sullivan & Robert Wilkinson, City Clerk Patty Gaston, Police Chief Mark Dunston, Fire Chief Derek McCoy, Planning & Grants Administrator Carolyn Martin, Building Official Darrell Stringfellow, Public Works Director Allan Ladnier, Parks & Recreation Director Geri Straight, Human Resources & Risk Management Director Mindy McDowell, and Deputy City Clerk Vicky Hupe.
No public were physically present due to the local state of emergency proclaimed by Mayor Dobson on Monday, March 16, 2020 regarding COVID-19. The meeting was made available to the public via live stream.
The Mayor called the meeting to order.
Reverend Mike Barnett gave the invocation over conference call and the Mayor led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to accept the agenda and the addendum to the agenda.
The Planning & Grants Administrator explained that the public hearing for the adoption of a Redevelopment Plan and creation of a Tax Increment Financing program (Exhibit 3-a) was advertised for three consecutive weeks. She said although the public is not in the board room, arrangements have been made for them to call into the meeting and that no written comments had been received to date. Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to go into Public Hearing.
The Public was asked to call for connection to the Board meeting.
Laurence Leyens, Urban Development, joined the meeting via phone and explained the need for a Redevelopment Plan and creation of a Tax Increment Financing program for Ocean Springs. He said that Ocean Springs can benefit through new and redevelopment of property, there are areas that would improve quality of life with development throughout the City. He said the Redevelopment Plan is compliant with the Comprehensive Plan. He said the TIF fund is a standalone development project would not be pledged by the general fund or any taxpayer in the community.
Mike Illanne, 303 Front Beach Drive, called in to the meeting, asked for clarification and questioned different aspects of the Redevelopment Plan and Tax Increment Financing program.
Laurence Leyens answered his questions and further explained funding would not come from millage and does not affect the good credit of the City. He said the TIF bond is funded by the increased taxes that are a result of the project itself by the developer. He said it would work in conjunction with the county.
The Public Hearing was left open to continue to receive written public comments, either by letter or email to the address listed in the advertisement, which will be included as if they were present at tonight’s meeting. The public has until April 7, 2020 to submit comments.
The presentation by the Friends of the Dog Park was cancelled due to the state of emergency regarding COVID-19. They did submit a $3,625.00 donation that was added to the consent agenda addendum.
The Human Resources Director said the Governor signed legislation to give state non-essential personnel administrative leave with pay and additional legislation passed today to extend that to cities. She said that the development of an administrative leave policy was in the works before the state of emergency but now it is imperative that the City put one in place in case there is a City shutdown. She said the proposed policy before the Board could be enacted by the Mayor or Board of Aldermen and would allow non-essential employees to cease working and receive administrative pay which would not be charged against their accrued leave. She explained until the time this policy is activated, employees would need to use their personal leave. Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Impey and unanimously carried to adopt the Administrative Leave Policy (Exhibit A-1a).
Alderman Authement said that during the last Board meeting, two members were removed from the Tree Protection Committee (TPC). He has since learned that the situation discussed that the removal was based on, did not happen the way it was explained per affidavits submitted by TPC members (Exhibit A – 1b). He said he would still like the Tree Committee Ordinance addressed further but requested reinstatement occur before then. Motion was made by Alderman Authement, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously carried to reinstate Sylvia Bosco and Barbara Smith to the Tree Protection Committee.
The Mayor said that public restrooms have been closed for the health and safety of the public and Parks Department employees after the declaration of emergency but the City will supply port-a-lets to be used at the publics own risk. Motion was made by Alderman Papania, seconded by Alderman Authement and unanimously carried to authorize Jazzy Johnz to service 15-20 port-a-lets a week until the public restrooms are reopened (Exhibit A – 1c).
Motion was made by Alderman Papania, seconded by Alderman Bellman and unanimously carried to refund all event cancelations during the course of the declared COVID-19 emergency.
Alderman Cox requested that the Ordinance related to the Tree Protection Committee be amended but it was determined that the discussion was non-essential for purposes of the meeting tonight.
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of items 6-a, 6-b, 6-c, 6-g, 6-i, 6-j, 6-m,and 6-p-a.
6-a) Approve Special Event permit application for the 27th Spring Arts, Herb and Garden Festival on Saturday, March 28th until Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; Beginning at L& D parking lot and Washington Ave. from railroad tracks to Porter Ave. and Government Str. To Bellande Ave. and Robinson Str. From Church Str. To Cash Alley; No vehicle or golf carts allowed; overtime cost may be incurred by the City (Exhibit 6-a)
6-b) Approve Special Event permit application for Northwood Church Park Party on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.; at Little Children’s Park; no cost to the City, applicant pays associated event cost (Exhibit 6-b)
6-c) Approve Special Event permit application for ART SEEN Benefit for the Water Anderson Museum of Art on Saturday, May 4, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m.; at WAMA; no cost to the City, applicant pays associated event cost (Exhibit 6-c)
6-d) Authorize Mayor to execute agreement with MS Power for lighting upgrade for Ward 3 (Exhibit 6-d)
6-e) Approve Minutes: Regular Meeting March 3, 2020 (Exhibit 6-e)
6-f) Accept Minutes: Finance Committee Meeting March 3, 2020 (Exhibit 6-f)
6-g) Accept Minutes: Finance Committee Meeting March 11, 2020 (Exhibit 6-g)
6-h) Accept Monthly Police Department Report for February 2020 (Exhibit 6-h)
6-i) Authorize out of state travel for employees # 2352 and #2353; March 22-25, 2020 in Dallas, TX for ROCIC Spring Conference; Expenses are budgeted (Exhibit 6-i)
6-j) Authorize out of state travel for Employee #1634; March 30 – April 3, 2020 in Decatur, GA for Foundations of Intelligence Analysis Training; expenses are budgeted (Exhibit 6-j)
6-k) Adopt Resolution to extend school speed zone near Oak Park Elementary (Exhibit 6-k)
6-l) Accept monthly Fire Department Report for February 2020 (Exhibit 6-l)
6-m) Authorize out of state travel for Fire employees #1608 and #2070; May 10-15, 2020 in College Station, TX for Industrial Firefighter Training; No cost to the City, hosted by Chevron Pascagoula Refinery (Exhibit 6-m)
6-n) Accept Minutes: Human Resources Committee Meeting February 26, 2020 (Exhibit 6-n)
6-o) Authorize to declare computer asset #7384 serial #9ZF17V1 and computer asset #2918 serial #JJCFQW1 as obsolete/surplus and no value to the City; remove from City’s inventory and dispose (Exhibit 6-o)
6-p) Human Resources action items (Exhibit 6-p):
a. Authorize transfer of Senior Records Clerk Mandy Phillips to Police Research Analyst, Grade 8, Step 5, $16.58 hourly rate; effective April 4, 2020; six month probation
b. Authorize employment of William Martin, Part-Time Warrants Officer, $13.00 hourly rate, effective on or about March 18, 2020, pending successful completion of all pre-employment requirements
c. Authorize promotion of Firefighter Keith Guice to the rank of Lieutenant, Step 1, $15.44 hourly rate, effective March 21, 2020, six month probation; authorize to begin the process of filling the vacant position
d. Authorize employment of Darla Jourdan, Building Office Administrator, Grade 7, Step 1, $14.59 hourly rate, effective or about March 18, 2020, twelve month probation, pending successful completion of all pre-employment requirements
e. Accept resignation of Code Enforcement Officer Richard Hart, effective March 26, 2020; authorize to begin the process of filling the vacant position
6-q) Adopt Resolution to coordinate and acknowledge the Keep Ocean Springs Beautiful Committee and to adopt the proposed by-laws (Exhibit 6-q)
6-r) Authorize to execute development agreement for available Katrina Disaster Recovery Funds: R-109-282-07-KCR - Parktown stormwater, drainage, and road improvements (Exhibit 6-r)
6-s) Authorize to execute development agreement for available Katrina Disaster Recovery Funds: R-109-282-08-KCR – Fort Bayou stormwater and sewer system improvements (Exhibit 6-s)
6-t) Approve bid for tree trimming various roads in the City after complaints from motorist (Exhibit 6-t)
6-u) Accept Building Department February 2020 Permit Report (Exhibit 6-u)
6-v) Accept Tree Protection Committee meeting minutes from March 2, 2020 (Exhibit 6-v)
6-w) Accept Tree Protection Committee meeting minutes from March 10, 2020 (Exhibit 6-w)
6-x) Approve Code Enforcement Report through March 12, 2020 (Exhibit 6-x)
A-2a) Accept donations in the amount of $3,625.00 for the Ocean Springs Dog Park (Exhibit A – 2a)
A-2b) Edit Agenda item 6-j due to cancellation, event has been changed to - Authorize out of state travel for Employee #1634; July 6-10, 2020 in Decatur, GA for Foundations of Intelligence Analysis Training; expenses are budgeted
A-3c) Authorize converting Public Works Director of Field Operations to Beautification Laborer, Grade 3, Step 1, $12.00 per hour; authorize to begin the process to fill the position (Exhibit A – 2c)
The Human Resources Director said item 6-p-a needed additional wording to begin process of filling the position. Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to approve item 6-p-a and include "to begin the process of filling the vacant position”.
The Mayor said item 6-a, the 27th Spring Arts, Herb and Garden Festival has been cancelled.
Alderman Cox said that the Finance Committee minutes from March 11, 2020, contain one recommendation of the committee that is not legally allowed. The City Attorney said that rather than rent being donated, according to the Attorney General she recommends the donation should be matching funds or in kind services. She said she has requested matching fund information from Lighthouse Dyslexia School but has not received any information from them. Alderman Impey reiterated that he was not in favor of the Finance Committee’s recommendation, he disagrees that the citizens should subsidize a private school. The City Attorney said that by accepting the minutes, the Board is not required to approve the recommendations. Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously carried to accept item 6-g.
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to approve items 6-b and 6-c contingent there is no local emergency when the events are scheduled, if so they will be eligible for a refund.
The Police Chief said that item 6-i is cancelled.
The Fire Chief said that item 6-m is not cancelled at this time. Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to approve item 6-m, contingent on the declared emergency.
The Mayor announced that the discussion of Ordinances related to Tree Protection and the Tree Protection Committee are postponed due to the declaration of a state of emergency and it not being essential City business.
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to approve the Docket of Claims; the Board finds that all expenses are lawful and appropriate (Exhibit 7-a).
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to approve the budget amendments (Exhibit A-3a)
Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously carried to increase each Ward fund by $1,500.00.
Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Impey and unanimously carried to award the grounds maintenance contracts for the Highway 90 median and Highway 90 Public Safety Complex (PD, FD, Civic Center, Vietnam Memorial, and Dog Park) to Grass Masters Lawn Service, LLC. for a period of one year for a total of $40,360.00 (Exhibit 7-c).
The Tree Protection Committee appeals are postponed due to the declaration of a state of emergency.
Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting until 6:00 p.m. on April 7, 2020.
Meeting ended at 7:05 p.m.
_/s/Patty Gaston___________ _/s/Shea Dobson_____________
City Clerk Mayor