City of Ocean Springs

    Minutes - September 5, 2017 - 6:00 p.m. Regular Meeting

    REGULAR MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

    Be it remembered that the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Ocean Springs met in a Regular meeting at City Hall in the City of Ocean Springs at 6:00 p.m. on September 5, 2017.  The Mayor presiding, Aldermen Cox, Gill, Authement, Bellman, Papania, Blackman, and Impey were present.  Also present was City Clerk Shelly Ferguson 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.

    PROCLAMATION

    Alderman Gill read and presented a proclamation to Mr. Chic Cody proclaiming July 17, 2017 as Chic Cody Day in the City of Ocean Springs. (Exhibit 3-a)

    The Police Chief reminded the audience the purpose of a meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen by state statute of the state of Mississippi and the Constitution is to conduct the business of the City.  He will not allow any disruption of the meeting.  If there is any disruption or disorderly conduct during this meeting they will be arrested. 

    NEW BUSINESS

    Ms. Gill and Dr. Coleman, Ocean Springs Schools Superintendent, presented the Ocean Springs School District school budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018.       

    Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to adopt the Ocean Springs School District budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 as presented. (Exhibit 4-a)

    Ms. Heather Eason and Ms. Elizabeth Feder-Hosey came before the Board to propose running an all-female Mardi Gras parade immediately following the Ocean Springs Mardi Gras night parade.  Ms. Eason stated there would not be a gap in the parade. Ms. Feder-Hosey stated they intend to throw purses with gift certificates and cash prizes with the hopes that people will come back to the City to spend the money and use the gift certificates which would boost the economy.

    Alderman Gill commended them on their idea to add to the parade.

    The Board is in agreement with Ms. Eason and Ms. Elizabeth Feder-Hosey moving forward with plans to add an all-female parade immediately following the Ocean Springs Mardi Gras night parade. (Exhibit 4-b)

    Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Papania and unanimously carried to forgive the water bill at 3416 Government Street in the amount of $177.87 due to unforeseen circumstances and the fact that they received no benefit from the water.  This amount is based on a 3 month average for this property. (Exhibit 4-c)

    OLD BUSINESS

    Mr. Ronald Vincent, 1412 Government Street, came before the Board to discuss the (6) six year issue with the noise that comes from CrossFit Gym located at 1316 Government Street.  Mr. Vincent said the permit was issued in error because the property is not zoned for this type of business.

    Alderman Authement commented that he was on the Planning Commission and said this was turned over to the City Judge and he asked what became of that.  Mr. Vincent said the Judge told him it is a Board decision.  Mr. Vincent said the Judge was not informed and did not know all of the facts because the discovery was not available at the time.

    The Grants and Planning Administrator looked into the issue and stated it should have gone to the Planning Commission for a Public Hearing because it didn’t get addressed properly at the time.  She said she had given the previous Mayor and Board some options to either revoke it, allow it with restrictions, or require a Public Hearing at that time but she did not receive any input back from the Mayor and Board.

    Alderman Cox said that he went to Mr. Vincent’s home at 6:00 a.m. one morning to hear the excessive noise for himself.  Alderman Cox said CrossFit has added mats for weights, insulation, and they keep the doors closed.  Alderman Cox feels CrossFit has gone out of their way to try and correct the problem.

    Mr. Vincent stated CrossFit opens at 5:30 a.m. and have been known to stay open until 10:30 p.m.  He said CrossFit does not have to follow any regulations.

    A representative from CrossFit stated they have taken measures to sound proof the building.  The business does open at 5:30 a.m. but they do not stay open until 10:30 at night.

    The Mayor asked the Planning and Grants Administrator to contact both parties to set up a meeting to include both parties, the Mayor, and the Planning and Grants Administrator to see if this can be worked out. (Exhibit 5-a)

    Motion was made by Alderman Authement, seconded by Alderman Cox to adopt an Amendment to Chapter 14, Article I, Section 14-8 of the Code of Ordinances for the City of Ocean Springs, Mississippi Requiring Stop Signs at the Intersection of General Pershing Avenue and Bowen Avenue.  Motion passes. (Exhibit 5-b)

         Alderman Gill                   Aye

         Alderman Authement         Aye

         Alderman Bellman             Aye

         Alderman Cox                   Aye

         Alderman Papania             Aye

         Alderman Blackman           Aye

         Alderman Impey               Aye

    Motion was made Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Authement and unanimously carried to Adopt a Resolution of the City of Ocean Springs, Mississippi to make all of Government Street east of Ward Avenue a No Passing Zone. (Exhibit 5-c)

    Ryheen Brown, Mayor’s Youth Council, updated the Board on the GeoCache/GeoTour project.  Mr. Brown stated this is not a stand-alone project.  This project was supposed to go along with the Scenic Byway project but our application was not approved.

    Alderman Cox stated the 50% funding the City was going to receive from the Chamber of Commerce was cancelled when the Scenic Byway application was denied. 

    Alderman Authement asked about the upkeep of the program.  Mr. Brown said it can be labor intensive.  The boxes will need to be monitored daily to make sure the cache’s have not been stolen or inappropriate items have not been placed in the boxes. The cost for the cache’s range from $25.00 - $50.00 a piece to replace if they are stolen.

    Cheryl Cooper, 1204 Iola Road, came before the Board to speak in favor of the GeoTour program.  Ms. Cooper stated her daughter, Cady Cooper, was a volunteer who put together the GeoTour project with the Mayor’s Youth Council.  Mr. Cooper also wanted to make sure the Board is aware that there are already several cache’s that exist in several places in the City of Ocean Springs.  These cache’s have been put out by private citizens in public spaces such as the Indian Head and the Seaman’s Memorial.  Ms. Cooper said these boxes are weather proof and do not require much maintenance.  Her daughter is willing to volunteer to maintain the cache’s for (5) five years at no cost to the City. 

    The Mayor stated he appreciates Cady’s passion about the project and her willingness to volunteer.  The Mayor also stated he is hesitant to put a City funded project in the hands of a college student.  He feels from the City’s standpoint he does not feel it is responsible to put city finances in the hands of a college student who attends school at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.

    Alderman Authement said the City does not currently have the funds to move forward with this program and maybe it can be revisited when the funds can be raised.

    Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Impey and unanimously carried to table Item 5-d. (Exhibit 5-d)

    PUBLIC COMMENTS

    Dr. Bill Moore, 257 Holcomb Blvd., read a statement about the work the Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to create a hardened drainage structure in upper Weeks Bayou and the drainage issues it may cause on top of taking away a place of great natural beauty.  He is requesting the City come up with a different plan. He also said it would be his pleasure to meet with Alderman Papania in whose ward this project is located in.

    Ms. Jessie Kastler, 2488 Davidson Road, resident of the Weeks Bayou watershed came before the Board to state her concerns about this project.     

    Ms. Julia O’Neal, Holcomb Blvd., said she discovered this permit with the Army Corps of Engineers and asked anyone who would like to make a comment on this project to call the Army Corps of Engineers prior to September 16th.  Ms. O’Neal voiced her complaints about the marsh restoration project.

    The Mayor asked if someone would contact his office to set up a meeting where they can all meet to discuss this project.

    Mr. Tom Buttera, Holcomb Blvd., asked if there is a flooding problem will it be resolved by reconstructing the ditch and if it is restructured will it be compromised with water rushing through from those neighborhoods.

    Ms. Carol Jones, resident of the Parktown East Civic Association, came before the Board to state the neighborhood is still needing help with flooding in their subdivision.  They desire to have the ditches cleaned because the drains are not doing what they need to do.  She also stated snakes, spiders, and wildlife are coming into their yards.  The City or County are supposed to provide some type of mitigation when building on wetlands.  She is asking if the Board could start having money set aside to have the ditches engineered.

    Alderman Impey stated until the City can get improved drainage under Highway 90 there is noting the City can do.  Alderman Impey also stated the Highway 90 expansion project has been put on hold so we don’t know when this can be done.  He said Public Works has cleaned the entire ditch all the way to Davis Bayou.

    The Mayor said he will meet with Public Works and he will go out to this area to look at it so we can remedy the situation.      

    Ms. Katie Yow, 1219 Parktown, said the ditches are all overgrown.  Ms. Yow asked the ditches to be cleaned because she is concerned about the area flooding.

    Mr. Curtis Wilson came before the Board to discuss the Chaney Project issue.  Mr. Wilson stated all the permits were obtained, got the bank involved, money invested and when the roof was taken off the house a stop work order was issued. He said all of these materials are getting ruined because they were not allowed to go back to the property to secure the materials there and asked what can be done to get them back into their property.

    The City Attorney advised the Board to not respond to any comments or questions regarding the Chaney property due to threat litigation and because the Building Official is not at the meeting.

    Mr. Matthew Gill, owner of Gill Construction Inc., stated he is the contractor for the Chaney’s.  Mr. Gill said he received approved for permit to build a spec home.  He said a neighbor complained that they were putting items in a flood zone.  The City issued a stop work order.  He is a general contractor and has $70,000.00 of his own money tied up in this property and needs to know how this can get rectified so he can get paid.

    Mr. Justin Bordies came before the Board to show support for Corey and Miranda Chaney.  Mr. Bordies read a letter on behalf of one of the Chaney’s neighbors, Leica Holland.

    Mr. Zeb Wilson read a letter on behalf of Steven and Susan Crump in support of the Chaney’s.

    Ms. Lynn Wade, 1809 Seashore Avenue, stated she has been Mr. Chaney’s realtor for approximately 4 years.  She came to talk about the integrity and quality of construction that he has done.

    Ms. Catherine Hampton, 2814 Lawnwood Drive, wanted to thank the Mayor and Board for flying the state flag over the City of Ocean Springs.

    Ms. Katherine Chai, 5025 Heritage Lane, read a statement against flying the state flag.  She stated flying the state flag makes Ocean Springs a racist city.

    Alderman Impey stated the City is not a racist city and stating the citizens of Ocean Springs are racist is wrong.  We are a city of character.  Alderman Impey said the flag is the state flag which means that we live in the state of Mississippi.

    Mrs. Julia Weaver, 334 Lovers Lane, asked the Mayor and Board to reconsider flying the state flay of the City of Ocean Springs. Mrs. Weaver suggested flying the bicentennial flag which speaks for the history and heritage of our state and not just the confederate period.

    The Mayor commented that negative comments come from both sides of the flag issue.

    Noelle Nolan, Ward 4, spoke against flying the state flag.

    CONSENT AGENDA

    Motion was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Authement and unanimously carried to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of item (7-b) which was pulled by Alderman Impey.

    Alderman Impey pulled item (7-b) because the minutes from the August 15, 2017 Recess Meeting of the Mayor and Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen were not complete.  The minutes will be available for approval at the next meeting.

    DEPARTMENT REPORTS

    H. R. Committee:

    Alderman Cox discussed the revised job description for Public Works Director.  He is in favor of the job description but he is not in favor of putting this position back under civil service.

    Alderman Gill stated the reason they are requesting to put it back under civil service is to get more qualified applicants to apply for the position.

    Motion was made by Alderman Cox to leave the Public Works Director outside of civil service protection.  Motion fails for lack of a second.

    Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Impey to approve Item 8-a. Aldermen Gill, Authement, Bellman, Papania, Blackman, and Impey voting aye.  Alderman Cox voted nay. (Exhibit 8-a)

    Motion was made by Alderman Authement, seconded by Alderman Impey to adopt an Ordinance Repealing Ordinance No. 2015-12 and to Reinstate the Coverage Afforded by the Civil Service system to the Position of Public Works Director of the City of Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  Motion passes. (Exhibit 8-b)

         Alderman Gill                   Aye

         Alderman Authement         Aye

         Alderman Bellman             Aye

         Alderman Cox                   Nay

         Alderman Papania             Aye

         Alderman Blackman           Aye

         Alderman Impey               Aye

    ALDERMEN’S FORUM

    Alderman Gill asked about the speaker system for the Boardroom.  He asked the City Clerk if we can move forward with the quote Alderman Blackman got for the system.  The City Clerk told Alderman Gill we are waiting on a comparable quote.

    Alderman Authement asked where the banner flags for the light poles are kept.  He would like to get these put out with all the events that are coming up.

    Alderman Bellman asked the Public Works Director about the tree stump at 285 Holcomb Blvd.  The Interim Public Works Director said it is up to Public Works to grind the stump but due to working on some drainage repairs they have not been able to get back to grind it but it is on their list.

    Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to approve payment to Shoemake’s Construction in the amount of $1300.00 in labor and materials for window repairs at the Mary C. O’Keefe Building.

    Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to spend $1000.00 plus materials for emergency repairs to the rafters on the roof at the Mary C. O’Keefe Building. 

    Motion was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Gill and unanimously carried to approve payment to Brochard Construction in the amount of $1500.00 from 2% funds for the Taconi repairs to move the awning and the storage building contingent on the storage building being moved.

    Alderman Papania asked where we are in the discussion of the 3 acre piece of property on Davidson Road.  The Mayor spoke to Mr. Champaign and he does have another buyer interested in paying the asking price of $269,000.00 for the property.

    The Planning and Grants Administrator will check on the property behind Dollar General to see if it is still available to the City and the property behind the Inlet for a dog park.

    Alderman Papania asked for an update on the Fort Bayou Dredging Project.  The Planning and Grants Administrator stated it is still in the permitting stage.

    Alderman Papania asked the Interim Public Works Director about asphalting small areas of streets and how that is handled.  The Interim Public Works Director said they have rented a roller and are trying to get asphalt once a week until they can get caught up with the long list of repairs that they currently have.

    Motion was made by Alderman Blackman, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to purchase a manlift for city use at a cost of $26,500.00.

    Alderman Blackman asked what the holdup is on the Government Street Sidewalk Project.  The Planning and Grants Administrator said the contractor has a delay in ordering the pedestrian bridge.

    Alderman Impey wanted to remind everyone about the parade on Saturday for the 125 years of Incorporation of the City of Ocean Springs.

    The Mayor said he met with the EOC Director regarding a tentative Hurricane Irma prep.

    The EOC Director said it is time for our citizens to start cleaning up around their houses and securing all the loose items around the house and picking up leaves out of their yards.

    Motion was made by Alderman Authement, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to go into closed session to determine the necessity of remaining in executive session.

    The City Clerk returned to the boardroom and announced that Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and unanimously carried to remain in executive session to discuss potential litigation regarding the Chaney property and personnel in Public Works.

    Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Authement and unanimously carried to come out of executive session.

    Motion was made by Alderman Gill, seconded by Alderman Authement and unanimously carried to recess the meeting until 6:00 p.m. on September 19, 2017.

    The meeting ended at 9:02 p.m.

     

    /s/ Shelly Ferguson                           /s/ Shea Dobson    

    City Clerk                                            Mayor

    10/04/2017                                        10/04/2017

    Date                                                     Date