by Calvin Ishee

Charlene Kerkow of Wright, Ward, Hatten, & Guehl accounting firm gave the 2017-18 audit presentation and stated that the City of Pass Christian’s financial position was “healthy”.  As of September 30th 2018, the City had a positive cash position of over 4.4 million dollars. As a general rule a city should have enough money to cover three months of expenses, however, Pass Christian has enough in unassigned cash to cover eleven months of expenses. Furthermore the report noted zero major findings, however it did note that there were “opportunities to improve” in the water and trash billing and collection process. The board unanimously approved the audit report.
The Board unanimously approved a one year contract with The Wilem Group, in the amount of $14,754.00 for the purpose of marketing and implementing services.  The primary focus of this effort is on developing effective marketing strategies via the use of social media. The City’s website will be upgraded and used to promote the City of Pass Christian. Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall asked if metrics were included to determine the success of this effort and he was told yes. The Wilem Group will be able to provide the City with the number of clicks per event and establish algorithms that can be used in future marketing campaigns.
In financial matters the Board approved the annual contract with the Humane Society of South Mississippi in the amount of $14,263.56 for the new fiscal year.  Municipal Clerk Marian Governor noted a small increase from the last year’s contract.  Also approved was a $500 donation to the Harrison County TRIAD/SALT Council in support of senior citizen programs and services; $3,900 to move concrete barricades in support of the 2019 Coast Burnout Contest; and the Claims Docket of $71,688.46.
Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott introduced the possibility of honoring former Alderman-at-Large Renee Brooks who recently passed.  Several options were discussed including a bench swing in Henderson Park along with a plaque dedication and a tree being planted in her name that also included a plaque dedication. Alderman Anthony Hall suggested additional dedications for past public servants should also be considered as well.
The Board approved the addition of a third cable company for the City of Pass Christian. In addition to AT&T and Cable One, now Sparkfire, Pass residents will be able to choose C-Spire. The agreement requires Telepak Networks Inc. (C-Spire) to pay the City 5% of gross revenues plus a one-time license fee of $3,000.  This agreement was negotiated by the City’s Consultant, Greg Fender. No date was given for the actual start date, so stay tuned to the Gazebo Gazette for updates.
Three of the planning commission recommendations were unanimously approved, another request to remove a tree from the tree board suggestion, and the final request was voted 4-0 because of Alderman Buddy Clarke’s recusal.  This request was for a planning commission recommendation to approve the warrant application for internally illuminated directional monument signs at Fillup with Billups restaurant.  City Planner Danit Simon said this request was in compliance with the code because Bacchus on the Beach restaurant across the street already has one and this satisfies the historical district.
On the addendum added to the agenda, Alderman Hall raised questions about each alderman being allowed to received portions of the BP money to pave certain roads in their ward.  He further stated that Board members should be able to provide input on which streets are to be paved. The board voted 4-1 to approve the three roads placed on the addendum, Hall was the only dissenting vote.
Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott finalized the meeting by stating the news of the city attorney; Malcolm Jones, accepting a position with the City of Waveland.  According to the Mayor, no action was needed because Jones was granted his approval.
In Public Comments Alderman Hall commended the Police Department for visiting a local nursing home in support of their Grandparents Day; Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Hall commended the Fire Department for assisting her mother during a critical event; Margaret Jean Kalif, Pass Christian School District Board President proudly announced that the Pass Christian School District had once again been given an A rating.
The next meeting has been scheduled for  Tuesday, October 1st, 6 p.m. in the City Court building.