by Calvin Ishee
Tuesday night’s Pass Christian Board of Alderman (BOA) meeting, the public comments portion of the meeting, two local Pass residents, Mike Wilburn and Bill Hansel presented their concerns to the Board regarding private properties needing work to include removal of old concrete slabs. After a lengthy discussion, the Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott asked them to address their issues with Joel Sims, Pass Community Planner and if need be, come back to the Board for further action.
The BOA has yet to have an update on the city’s effort to regulate short term rental properties. Perhaps they’re waiting to see what other coast cities do before finalizing their short term rental ordinance?
The session began with the donation of a beautiful wooden bench, presented by Kelly Griffin, Director of the Harrison County Beautification Commission. The bench was the result of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors, Harrison County Beautification and coastal Mayor’s Youth Councils participation in this summers’ Keep Mississippi Beautiful Project. Due to the plan’s response, benches were presented to all coastal municipalities.
Supporting local children needing critical support during very challenges, Jeannie Herrin, Executive Director with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), asked the BOA to consider making a $2,000 donation to CASA for fiscal year 2019. Herrin noted that 1,850 families living in Harrison County use this service, including 15 families that live in the Pass. Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott stated that although he applauds their efforts, funds are not currently available in fiscal years 2018 or 2019. Further, the mayor expressed that discretionary funds are extremely limited year in and year out. Mayor McDermott did believe they would reconsider this request after the new fiscal year begins on October 1st.
The BOA unanimously voted to renew the animal control services contract with the Humane Society of South Mississippi, which the cost is $12,727 or $3,593 less than the current contract. Additionally, the Board unanimously approved a resolution requesting the Mississippi State Legislature to take action in the upcoming Special Session of 2018, to divert a portion of the Internet Sales Tax to municipalities for the use in the maintenance and improvements of infrastructure. The Resolution requests 18.5% of applicable Internet sales be diverted back to municipalities to assist them with meeting unfounded mandates as well as improving the quality of life in local citizens. This request is part of the “Balance the Scales with Internet Sales” effort.
$25,000 was approved by the Board for the 2018 Pass Christian Main Street Cruisin’ the Coast event. This event is scheduled for October 4-6, 2018 and will feature a $5,000 Burnout Contest, one of the few such events provided along the Coast.
The Fire Department received BOA approval to hire two new firemen as well as to purchase gear washer and dryer at a cost of $12,936. According to Pass Fire Chief Dwight Gordon, the new hires bring them to an “even” level.
The Recreation Department’s request to accept $65 donation by Ward One Alderman Buddy Clarke to sponsor one youth football player was unanimously approved with Mayor McDermott and Alderman-at-Large Kenny Torgeson each also opting to sponsor a player as well.