SPECIAL CALL MEETING
SEPTEMBER 5, 2019
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 6:00 p.m. on September 5, 2019. The Mayor presiding, Aldermen Authement, Cox,
Papania, Blackman and Impey were present. Aldermen Gill and Bellmen were
absent. Also present were City Clerk Patty Gaston and Deputy City Clerk Vicky
Hupe. City Attorney Kevin Melchi attended the meeting by telephone, there was a
speakerphone in the meeting room.
Let the minutes reflect that proper
notice of the meeting was provided to all Aldermen via email and that the
notice was posted at City Hall and online within one hour of the meeting being
The Mayor called the meeting to order.
The Special Call Meeting is for the purpose
of any and all matters pertaining to adopting Ordinance 2019-17 Granting a
Non-Exclusive Franchise to Telepak Networks, Inc. to Lay, Construct, Maintain,
Replace, Repair, and Operate Fiber Optic Cable and Appurtenant
Telecommunications Facilities In, Under, Over and Across and Along All Streets,
Avenues, Alleys, Highways, Roads, Bridges, Viaducts and Public Places in Ocean
Springs, MS (Exhibit a); Public Hearing – FY 19-20 Proposed Budget; resolution
Fixing Tax Levy for FY 19-20 (Exhibit c); proposed Increase – Resolution Fixing
Tax Levy for FY 19-20 (Exhibit d).
was made by Alderman Impey and seconded by Alderman Cox to adopt Ordinance
2019-17 Granting a Non-Exclusive Franchise to Telepak Networks, Inc. to Lay,
Construct, Maintain, Replace, Repair, and Operate Fiber Optic Cable and
Appurtenant Telecommunications Facilities In, Under, Over and Across and Along
All Streets, Avenues, Alleys, Highways, Roads, Bridges, Viaducts and Public
Places in Ocean Springs, MS (Exhibit a). The motion carried with a roll call
vote as follows:
Alderman Gill Absent
Alderman Authement Aye
Alderman Bellman Absent
Alderman Cox Aye
Alderman Papania Aye
Alderman Blackman Aye
Alderman Impey Aye
was made by Alderman Cox, seconded by Alderman Blackman and
unanimously carried to open the Public Hearing for the FY 19 – 20 proposed
The City Clerk gave a summary of the
proposed budget for FY 19 – 20.
The City Clerk explained the 3.09
millage increase advertised in the paper was just to make the two week
advertisement guideline and at the time she was unsure of the actual increase
needed. She explained the 3.09 millage increase was a worst case scenario but
she was able to locate a mistake in the new accounting system which has been
corrected. Due to the correction, she now recommends increasing the millage by
1.09 mills; .09 for the library and 1.00 for debt service.
The City Clerk said general fund income
is expected to be $14,012,905 with $4,120,958.42 from the county in property
taxes. The City’s sales tax budget is up to $5.4 million. She said FY 18 – 19
ending balance is expected to be $659,000 which will be rolled over to FY 19 –
20 to fund the budget.
The City Clerk talked about some changes
that were made to the budget. The Board of Aldermen capital improvements ward
funds dropped to $4,000 each. She said that court fine collections have
increased since the City hired a company to collect old past due debts. She
said she added $1,500 to try to improve the video and sound equipment in the
board room. Human Resources now has $8,000 in the budget for vehicle insurance
deductible payments. The Planning Department added contract services for a
Project Manager and grant matches. The gas budgets for the Building Department
and Parks Department have been moved to the Police Department gas budget
because the new tanks have been installed. Three General Service Officers were
added to the Police Department budget. There is a trench box in Public Works
Department budget, Alderman Cox asked to look into purchasing a used one. The
Parks & Recreation Department has one maintenance employee added to the
budget to assist the Parks Assistant Director with construction, repair and
maintenance. The FY 19- 20 budget will have a festival fund to account for all
of the festivals.
Alderman Cox asked the City Clerk to
increase the funds given to the Chamber of Commerce by $10,000; $5,000 from
both the Hotel tax and Food & Beverage tax funds.
The City Clerk said that the auditors
recommended creating an enterprise fund for all of water, sewer and garbage
which has been created for the FY 19 – 20 budget. She said the sewer rates from
Jackson County Utility Authority (JCUA) have been reduced by $60,000 for the year.
She is recommending removing the automatic 3% sewer increase for FY 19 – 20.
She said the water meters are now getting an actual flow rate and reading
correctly. She stated that 47% of the enterprise funds are paid to JCUA and
Waste Pro. The enterprise fund ending balance is estimated to be between $1.4 –
The City Clerk said she asked the Board
to consider adding the 1 mill for debt millage. She explained that without it the
City would have no borrowing power for the next year. She also said she
verified the funds could be used to pay down current debt. She said that with
the 1.09 millage increase, because the schools reduced their millage, the tax
payer would have a .71 millage increase or approximately $17.75 per year on a
home valued at $250,000.00.
Alderman Impey said that over the last
few years the City has had huge increases in insurance costs that have been
mostly absorbed by the City, PERS contribution increase, and the City is
instituting a pay scale and step raises for FY 19 – 20. He said all of these
costs are in the budget.
The Mayor & Board’s Executive
Assistant spoke in favor of the millage increase for the Library. She said that she met with the Director and
found out that the Ocean Springs Library is the 2nd busiest library
in the state. In a normal month they see approximately 7,000 patrons. They
offer many different programs including story time, infant story time, senior
citizen classes and access to computers. They have a huge selection of E-books
that cost not only to purchase but cost again after a specific number of
e-check outs. They offer conference rooms for free for citizens. The Ocean
Springs Library is an asset to the community and a $12,000 increase would be
Alderman Papania said that the Mayor,
Board and Department Heads have done a great job being fiscally responsible for
Alderman Cox requested that the reserve
fund be increased, and would like to see $100,000 from ending balance moved to
the reserve fund. He reiterated that the Chamber is running a big campaign with
commercials and print ads and would like to increase the funds provided by
$10,000. Alderman Authement agreed on the Chamber increase.
Alderman Cox gave thanks to the Finance
Committee and looks forward to next year not being so time constrained.
Alderman Authement asked about moving
the reserve fund to a money market account earning interest. Alderman Blackman
said he would like to see the reserve account accruing interest as well. The
City Clerk said she would check to see if the fund should be moved to a higher
earning interest account.
The Mayor asked if anyone in the
audience would like to address the Board.
Mary Beckman, 1209 Cove Avenue, said
she opposed the millage increase because all of the new construction should
increase the City’s tax rolls as well as the expected BP funds. She added that
she is delighted to hear that the City employees are receiving long overdue
Motion was made by Alderman Impey,
seconded by Alderman Authement and unanimously carried to close the Public
was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Blackman and
unanimously carried to adopt the Resolution Fixing the Tax Levy for FY 19-20 (Exhibit
d) with the 1.09 millage increase.
Alderman Impey thanked the Finance
Committee, the City Clerk, Deputy City Clerk, and City Accountant for their
great work getting the budget together despite having issues with the new
accounting software system. He also thanked former employee, Ryheen Brown, and
the Department Heads for helping as well.
Alderman Impey addressed a comment from
the audience about road work and said that during the last quarter of 2019
Ocean Springs should be getting more paving funds from the county.
was made by Alderman Impey, seconded by Alderman Cox and
unanimously carried to adjourn the Special Call meeting.
The meeting ended at 7:27 p.m.
Gaston_____________ __/s/Shea Dobson__________