by Calvin Ishee
What began as a very positive and “normal” meeting of the Pass Christian Board of Alderman (BOA), rapidly deteriorated when PC Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott opened the floor for public comment. For whatever reason, as Mike Wilburn approached the podium to speak his mind, the tension in the room and more specifically the Mayor, began to rise exponentially. The Mayor reminded Wilburn that he only had three minutes to speak despite the 30 minutes taken by him at a recent BOA meeting.
As Wilburn was explaining that he was simply trying to get the city to follow it’s own ordinance by making a private property owner remove an old slab that was previously a tennis court. The Mayor heatedly responded that the Public Comment part of the meeting was not the proper place to address this issue. Mayor McDermott asked Wilburn if he had talked to Joel Sims, PC Community Planner as well as his representative on the BOA and he replied that he had. The Mayor then apologized for his approach to Wilburn’s issues and ordered Sims and Malcolm Jones, PC City Attorney to personally meet with him at their convenience. The meeting was scheduled for Friday, September 14th at 9 a.m. If deemed appropriate by the city reps, this issue will be added to an upcoming BOA meeting agenda.
On a more positive note, State Senator Phillip Moran and State Representatives Richard Bennett and Carolyn Crawford thanked the Mayor and BOA for their support during the recent special session. They also outlined their successes which included $400,000 being awarded to Pass Christian, the passing of the state lottery, allocation of 18.7% of Internet sales taxes to the city and the passage of the BP Settlement funds. These are all huge wins for the state, but really big wins for Pass Christian and its residents.
The Board approved a new ordinance (670) allowing private landowners to prohibit parking on their private property. It also allows them to post appropriate signage whereby violators can be punished according. PC Police Chief Tim Hendricks supported this initiative and the new ordinance passed 4-1 with Alderman Anthony Hall being the only dissenting vote.
Speeders in the Timber Ridge area beware, the BOA unanimously accepted a $3,500 donation from the Timber Ridge Property Owners Association for the purchase of a portable electronic radar speed sign. According to Police Chief Hendricks, speed data will be collected and analyzed for potential future use. Data will include peak times for speeding, average speed, etc. The Chief further stated that he’d like to see 4 or 5 more portable electronic radar speed signs that can be used throughout the city.