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    City of Ocean Springs

    Minutes - September 7, 2018 - 5:45 p.m. Special Call Meeting

    SPECIAL CALL MEETING SEPTEMBER 7, 2018

     

     

    Be it remembered that the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Ocean Springs met in a Special Call Meeting at City Hall in the City of Ocean Springs at 5:45 p.m. on September 7, 2018.  The Mayor presiding, Aldermen Cox, Gill, Papania, Blackman, and Impey were present. Also present were City Attorney Kevin Melchi and Interim City Clerk Patty Gaston.  Aldermen Authement and Bellman were absent. 

    The Mayor called the meeting to order.

    Reverend James Lewis gave the invocation and the Mayor led the Pledge of Allegiance.

    The Special Call Meeting is for the purpose of any and all matters pertaining to requesting a Memorandum of Understanding from Jackson County for the use of the Swingster property during the 2018 Cruisin’ the Coast event and 2018 Peter Anderson Festival; Public Hearing for the FY18-19 Proposed Budget; and Resolution fixing the tax levy for FY18-19.

    Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to allow the Mayor to request a Memorandum of Understanding from Jackson County for the use of the Swingster Property for parking during the 2018 Cruisin’ the Coast event and the 2018 Peter Anderson Festival.

    PUBLIC HEARING 

    Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously carried to open the Public Hearing.

    The Mayor addressed some of the rumors going around by clarifying that the City is not running in a deficit and is not laying off any employees.  The Mayor explained the board has spent money based on revenue that has not yet been received.  The Mayor said he and the board are taking steps to invest in the City by purchasing equipment for Public Works and replacing the financial software that the City has had since 1987.   

    The Interim City Clerk presented the proposed budget for FY18-19. 

    The Interim City Clerk stated that the General Fund is anticipating to receive around $14 million in revenue for FY18-19. 

    The Mayor’s budget is projected to come in around $359,000.00.  The Interim City Clerk stated there are no funds in the proposed budget for annexation.  

    The Board of Aldermen’s budget did not have any significant changes other than decreasing the amount of Ward Capital Improvement funds from $5,000.00 to $2,500.00.

    The Civil Service budget is projected to come in at $8,315.00.  The City will no longer pay the Civil Services Commissioners for their service.  The City will continue to pay the (1) one employee that performs clerical work for the Civil Service Commission.

    The City Clerk’s budget is projected to come in at $786,502.00.  The Interim City Clerk stated that there is $214,000.00 in the computer software and support line item which includes $118,000.00 for the financial software the City is purchasing and 30% of the AGJ contract in this proposed budget. 

    The Police Department budget is proposed to be $3,786,202.00.  The Interim City Clerk stated that the budget was able to be reduced some by moving the jail to Jackson County.  The proposed budget for prisoner meals is based on a per day cost of $35.00 per prisoner.  This was estimated to be $75,000.00 with an additional $2,000.00 in case prisoners are held at the Ocean Springs Police Department and need to be fed prior to transporting them to Jackson County.  Alderman Gill stated the reason for moving the jail is due to liability reasons.  The Mayor stated he and Alderman Blackman spoke to Sheriff Ezell personally because they were concerned about placing the correction officers in full time positions with Jackson County due to the city jail being closed.

    The Fire Department is purchasing a new fire truck this year with Fire rebate funds.

    The general fund ending balance is expected to come in at $127,000 given the revenue and expenses presented at the special call meeting.

    The Interim City Clerk stated that the water revenue fund is anticipated to receive approximately $3.6 million for FY18-19.

    The Interim City Clerk stated that the sewer revenue fund is anticipated to receive approximately $3.3 million for FY18-19 and that the Sewer Department will conduct a 592 Sewer Rehab project with the help of a grant.

    The anticipated revenue for the 2% fund is approximately $2 million for FY18-19. Jackson County is expected to cover most of the cost of the parking lot behind the Highway 57 Sports Complex baseball field. The Interim City Clerk stated that these funds are restricted to Parks & Public Safety only and cannot be used for salaries.

    The Interim City Clerk provided a summary for the debt service fund that is funded with the 3.77 millage.

    Reverend James Lewis asked about raising the millage and if the construction near the downtown area will be affected by the millage. The Interim City Clerk responded that the millage would remain the same and that the construction is not affected by the millage. 

    The Mayor and Board of Alderman stated their desire to raise the reserve fund to $1.3 million in the future but not for FY18-19.

    Deputy Fire Chief and EOC Director Nate Wilson spoke on behalf of the city employees, expressing concern that we have been losing employees to surrounding cities and counties for higher pay.  He said that the Fire Department is not just losing young employees, but long time, knowledgeable employees.  We are told that we cannot compete with the cities and the counties but we are losing employees to them city wide and something has to be done to retain our great employees.

    Police Chief Mark Dunston said that he made reductions in his department budget to help cover the budget shortfall.  The city jail has been closed due to liability and safety issues and the inmates have been transferred to the Jackson County Adult Detention Center.  The Sherriff has agreed to hire the remaining Corrections Officers at the Jackson County ADC.  Any needed equipment and cars can be purchased with seizure funds.

    They Mayor said that he and the board members are working on improving the efficiency and health of the city and apologized that raises cannot be given at this time.  

    Corrections Officers English, Nelson and Savage spoke about the role they play in support of the Police Officers and hope that the board will reevaluate their displacement due to the elimination of their positions. 

    Reverend Lewis thanked the Mayor and board for their transparency in regard to the city finances.   

    There were no opponents against the proposed budget.

    There were no proponents for the proposed budget.

    Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to come out of public hearing.

    Motion made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously carried to adopt the Resolution Fixing the Levy of the Municipal Ad Valorem Taxes on the City of Ocean Springs, Mississippi and the Ocean Springs School District, Jackson County, for the Fiscal Year 2018-2019. (Exhibit c)

    Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting.

    The meeting ended at 6:56 p.m.


    _/s/ Patty Gaston_______                         /s/  Shea Dobson                  

    City Clerk                                                     Mayor

     

     10/17/2018                                           10/17/2018

         Date                                                   Date