City of Ocean Springs

    Minutes - October 15, 2019 6:00 pm - Recess Meeting

    RECESS MEETING OF OCTOBER 15, 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 October 15, 2019.  The Mayor presiding, Aldermen Cox, Gill, Authement, Bellman, Blackman and Impey were present. Alderman Papania was absent. Also present were City Clerk Patty Gaston and City Attorney Robert Wilkinson. City Attorney Kevin Melchi joined the meeting at approximately 6:35 p.m.

     

    The Mayor called the meeting to order.

     

    Chic Cody gave the invocation and the Mayor led the Pledge of Allegiance.

     

     

    PRESENTATION

     

    Emilie Zalfini with Utility Service Partners, Inc. working in conjunction with the National League of Cities presented information on partnering with the City to offer the residents of Ocean Springs a warranty program for their water, sewer and/or indoor plumbing. She said there is no cost to the City plus the City would receive incremental revenue of $0.50 per plan. She said they would require use of the City logo on their marketing material and City approval of any mail outs. She said they would use local licensed bonded contractors and there is no service fee or deductible for the homeowner to use their policy. Alderman Blackman said it is an insurance policy for homeowners and asked about hot water heater coverage. She responded that in the current package they were not offering hot water heater coverage but she would look into adding a package with the coverage. She said for all three plans it would be $23.49 per month but the homeowner could pick and choose which plan(s) they would want. Alderman Papania expressed his reluctance to enter into a business partnership with a private company and allowing use of the City logo. The City Attorney said that there would need to be a hold harmless clause for the City to not be liable. Alderman Authement said in his opinion the sewer line coverage would be beneficial to many local homeowners.

     

     

    NEW BUSINESS

     

    The Mayor said that the Mississippi Sound Coalition is in working collaboratively with municipalities to restore and protect the Mississippi Sound in the aftermath of the openings of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to approve the MOU with the  Mississippi Sound Coalition (Exhibit 4-a).

     

    The Krewe of Salacia, a registered 501c3, requested that the deposit and rental fee for Fort Maurepas be waived to benefit the Jackson County Animal Shelter (Exhibit 4-b). Motion was made by Alderman Gill and seconded by Alderman Bellman to waive the deposit and fees; following discussion motion was rescinded by Alderman Gill. Alderman Authement said that without a deposit, which the organization would get back, there is no incentive to leave the park in good condition. The Parks & Recreation Director said that there is already a reduced price for registered 501c3 organizations. Request was denied.

     

    Motion was made by Alderman Authement, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to provide $300 in support of the 2020 Gulf Coast Legislative Reception on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 (Exhibit 4-c).

     

    Alderman Papania said that the Parks & Recreation Director has requested approval to send a request to the Ocean Springs School District to waive their fee for rental of the Ocean Springs Stadium for the Super Bowl for Youth Football. Motion was made by Alderman Papania, seconded by Alderman Impey and unanimously carried to request the Ocean Springs School District to waive their fee for rental of the Ocean Springs Stadium for the Parks & Recreation’s Super Bowl for Youth Football.

     

     

    OLD BUSINESS

     

    Motion was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to appoint Linda Novak to the Tree Protection Committee; fulfilling the remaining term for the Ward 5 position expiring June 30, 2022 (Exhibit 5-a).

     

     

    CONSENT AGENDA

     

    Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of items 6-b, 6-r, 6-w, and 6-ff.

     

    The Mayor said that Item 6-b, needed a date change to November 1stthrough the 3rd. Motion was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Authement and unanimously carried to approve a Temporary Dedication of Land between First Baptist Church and the City of Ocean Springs from November 1st through 3rd, 2019 (Exhibit 6-b).

     

    Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to authorize employment of April Chewning, Camp & After-School Coordinator, at grade 9, step 3 of the pay scale, effective October 21, 2019, one year probation, pending successful completion of all pre-employment requirements (Exhibit 6-r).

     

    Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to approve a tax exemption application, post construction for 3008 Bienville Boulevard JRG Property Holdings dba Woody’s Roadside (Exhibit 6-w).

     

    The Parks & Recreation Director said that Item 6-ff is a contract with Tennis Pro Jim Jones and he has requested the contract be amended but she is not in agreement with the requested amendments. Alderman Blackman said that a private citizen cannot make money with the use of City property. Motion was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to authorize the Mayor to execute the Individual Service Contract for Tennis with Jim Jones as written with the exception of the numbering being corrected (Exhibit 6-ff).

     

     

    DEPARTMENT REPORTS

     

    MAYOR:

     

    The Executive Assistant to the Mayor & Board of Aldermen explained that the majority of her time as well as other departments is used organizing special events. She said she thinks the current $50.00 Run/Walk application fee is appropriately set and recommends that there should be a Special Event Permit application fee of $75.00 (Exhibit 7-a). Motion was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to institute a Special Event Permit application fee of $75.00 to be charged after approval of the event by the Board.

     

    The Executive Assistant to the Mayor & Board of Aldermen presented a Website Renovation slide show to update the Board of the progress made acquiring a new website.

     

    CITY CLERK:

     

    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-b).

     

    Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to adjust the water/sewer accounts listed on Exhibit 7-c except 212 Mitchell Street; with the finding that the customers did not receive the benefit of the utility and the excess usages were due to unforeseen circumstances (Exhibit 7-c).

     

    The City Clerk explained the need to appoint a committee to select an engineer through a point system for the FEMA #4350 Sewer Lift Project for 7 lift stations. Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to authorize to advertise for Engineering Services and authorize to establish the selection committee related to FEMA #4350 Sewer Lift Project for 7 lift stations (Exhibit 7-d). No committee selected at this time.

     

    BUILDING DEPARTMENT:

     

    Nicholas Fain appealed the denial of his application for tree removal by the Tree Committee for his property at 410 Ruskin Avenue (Exhibit 7-e). He said that the tree is in between his two driveways and very close to his house and will only get bigger. Alderman Gill asked if he would be willing to plant 2 trees to take its place. Mr. Fain asked if he could plant at another location in Ocean Springs. Alderman Cox responded that it is usually on the property from which the tree was removed. Mr. Fain said that he could plant in the back of his property. Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Impey and unanimously carried to approve the tree removal application with the stipulation of planting two trees on the property.

     

     

    PUBLIC COMMENT

     

    Katie Yow, 1219 Parktown Drive, presented the board with a letter and pictures of the flooding in Parktown Subdivision during the last heavy rain. Alderman Impey responded the last heavy rain event dropped several inches in a short period of time overwhelming the drainage in several areas around the city. She stated there was blockage in the area ditches. The Public Works Director presented video taken the day before which showed no obstruction and clear ditches. She then asked about the paving of Parktown Drive and what the city was going to do about the roots of an Oak tree pushing up the concrete of her driveway. Alderman Impey responded by telling her that Parktown Drive is in the next round of county paving and should be completed in the next few months. He added that the tree is on private property and is the homeowner’s responsibility.

     

    Mark Garriga said that there was a 50-60’ Magnolia tree previously removed at 1519 Porter Avenue to build a house on the lot but now the house is not being built and it is for sale. He expressed a need for a change in policy and he said when there is an appeal before the Board the Tree Committee should also have representation at the meeting.

     

    Allan Weaver from The Foundation Group that presented to the Board in September said that if the City is interested in hiring them, to get the biggest bang for the City’s buck, they would need a decision quickly before the November show in Atlanta, GA. He said they are willing to enter into a 90 day contract for $7,500 and meeting monthly to show what they could do for the City. Alderman Impey asked where would the funding come from since this project in not in the budget. The City Clerk said it would have to come from ending balance. Alderman Gill said he is in favor. Alderman Blackman said he is not in favor and cannot spend tax payer’s money on no results. The Mayor said the topic would be tabled for now but a special call would be scheduled next week to make a decision.

     

     

    ALDERMAN’S FORUM

     

    Alderman Gill said he needs to increase the funds for landscaping the Fort Bayou entrance due to the need for repairs to the fencing.  Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to approve $500 in Ward 1 funds for landscaping the Fort Bayou entrance.

     

    Alderman Authement said the City vacated Schmidt right of way but there is still a City water meter box at that location and the new owners want it moved. They are willing to pay for the water line being moved but would like the City to cover the meter box since it is City property. Motion was made by Alderman Authement, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to approve the City to move the water meter at 401 McNamee and cover the cost.

     

    Alderman Cox thanked all departments and Chic Cody for Cruisin’ the Coast 2019 being a success. He said there were 8,620 registered cars and more non registered.

     

    Alderman Papania seconded Alderman Cox’s sentiments and said the Public Works Department did an outstanding job keeping the area clean and looking good. He added that he has received notice from Mississippi Power that the LED project is now complete in Stark Bayou.

     

    Alderman Blackman asked why there was a $342 engineering charge for comprising a list of City parks addresses and phone numbers when the Parks & Recreation Director was not contacted for the information. The Planning & Grants Administrator said that she is not sure but it could have been part of the Capital Improvements Plan before the City decided to take the lead in completing it.

     

    Alderman Blackman said that Graham Construction had been fined $161,000 for safety violations in Ocean Springs according to the OSHA website for trench box and ladder issues. He asked that the City Attorney look into the contract and make sure the City has no liability. He also said that AMS has brought $68,000 in collection of old court fines into the City in the last 10 months. He congratulated the Police, Fire and Public Works Departments on their great work during Cruisin’ the Coast.

     

    Alderman Impey said there were 8,620 cars registered from around the United States and Canada, with over 3,000 from Mississippi. He said the bond refunding came at a perfect time and will save the tax payers over $250,000. He sent his condolences to the Levi family for their tragic loss.

     

    The Deputy Fire Chief gave the Mayor a check for the Real Men Wear Pink, Breast Cancer Awareness drive in the amount of $2,850 that the Ocean Springs Firefighters raised.

     

     

    EXECUTIVE SESSION

     

    Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox 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, seconded by Alderman Blackman and unanimously carried to remain in executive session to discuss personnel in the Human Resources Department.

     

    Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously carried to suspend employee #2269 for two working days without pay for poor job performance and for insubordination.

     

    Motion was made by Alderman Gill, 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 November 5, 2019. 

     

    Meeting ended at 8:46 p.m.

     

     

     

    _/s/Patty Gaston_____________              __/s/Shea Dobson__________

    City Clerk                                            Mayor

     

    _11/06/2019________________               _11/06/2019_______________

    Date                                                   Date