by Calvin Ishee
For the second time in a month, non-resident and New Orleans Attorney Henry W. (Tut) Kinney used his allocated 3 minutes of the Public Comments portion of the meeting to complain about various issues. Kinney and Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott verbally sparred for a few minutes before heading into Executive Session to discuss Kinney’s Public Records Requests.
During the Board’s Executive Session regarding the release of these documents, Kinney stated that he would be happy to discuss the matter after the meeting.
At the conclusion of the Executive Session, City Attorney Malcolm Jones announced that the Board had approved Kinney’s Public Records request. Kinney did not provide any information after the meeting. According to City Attorney Malcolm Jones, although Kinney owns property in the Pass. The Board of Alderman continues to stand by its decision to hire Balch and Bingham.
In other business the Board approved the Pass Christian Garden Club’s request to sponsor building a Butterfly Garden and Monarch Way Station on the north side of the PC Library parking lot; the City’s involvement with the annual Christmas in the Pass event which will be held December 6th on Davis Ave.; waived the building permit fee for Our Mother of Mercy Church and approved slip rental agreements with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast.
In an effort to obtain long term relief from the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway, the Board unanimously adopted a resolution to join other Gulf Coast cities in the recently formed Mississippi Sound Coalition. This group was established to “restore the Mississippi Sound and the seafood and tourism economies that depend on it and prevent future damage from the Mississippi River”. Additionally, the Board passed a resolution requesting Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant take “immediate action to oppose the proposed Louisiana Mid-Breton large scale Diversion Project” and a resolution requesting the Mississippi Congressional Delegation to repeal current federal legislation that would allow the Louisiana Mid-Breton project. If approved the project would mean an additional 9.4 trillion gallons of fresh water being drained into the Mississippi Sound. Local officials are deeply concerned about the huge negative impact the additional fresh water will have on Gulf Coast fishing and tourism related businesses.
Based on a letter from Mississippi State Auditor Shad White’s office, as well as a recent article posted on it’s web site titled “Auditors Report Shows Disregard for Cyber Security in State Government”, the Board voted to invest $12,000 on an independent cyber security risk assessment. Although mandated by state law, the report noted many discrepancies within computer systems throughout the state. He commented there’s a “real weakness in our State’s government system”. The vendor will conduct a 100% top to bottom review of all computers and servers owned by the City and make recommendations as needed.
Since trailer owner John Trepagnier failed to meet the City mandated deadline to demolish his condemned trailer, the BOA voted to solicit quotes to demolish the trailer. Several Alderman discussed other possible solutions, one of which involved contacting a local veterans group to see if they could help with the demolition project. City Attorney Malcolm Jones stated that if no other source is found, the City will be forced to pay for the demolition, put a lien against the property and recoup it’s costs according.
Before recess, the Pass Christian Police Department recently received a $20,000 grant to help with the reopening of its new dispatch center. The department is working diligently to get the dispatch center open as soon as possible, but it won’t open until sometime in 2020.