by Calvin Ishee
With a City the size of Pass Christian, approximately one mile wide and six miles long, space and economic development opportunities are extremely limited. Therefore, the Planning Commission as well as the Mayor and Board of Alderman welcomed the possibility of adding an RV Park to it’s list of local businesses.
High Tide Investment Inc. proposes using land just off Henderson Ave to offer 41 RV storage spaces and the adjoining land off Earl Street and Church Street for 51 RV overnight rental spaces.
Although the potential economic impact was not provided, the City would benefit from taxes continually collected from the 41 RV storage spaces while bringing in a constant flow of visitors via the 51 RV overnight parking spaces. Local businesses have expressed their desires for increased foot traffic and this could be a means of accomplishing that.
Based on various potential concerns such as increased traffic in the area and the perceived “aesthetics” of an RV Park; plus the fact that there are still unresolved issues with the application, the Board voted unanimously to remand the application back to the Planning Commission for further action.
According to City Planner Danit Simon, “the Commission totally supports this project but we need to iron out several issues”. Those include whether or not the applicant would need to provide the City with a Drainage Plan, the need to construct a brick and mortar office and a plan to address traffic issues, especially during morning and afternoon school traffic.
As part of the transfer of the Pass Christian Water Department to the City, the BOA approved hiring Jennifer Lizana as the Utility Billing Supervisor, DeDe Waggoner and Remelda Bradley as Water Department Customer Service Representatives and Brian Amos as a Meter Reader. The City hired some but not all of the current Water Department employees. Jennifer Lizana will now become a Department Head with 60% of her salary being paid by the Water Department and 40% by the Harbor where she currently works as an Administrative Assistant.
The Fire Department hired three new firefighters, Charles Toler, Mason Songy and River Young. Their effective start date is December 18th. According to Fire Chief Dwight Gordon, the Fire Department is still short two firefighters. In other personnel related business, Beautification Director Kirk Ladner’s salary was increased in order to be compliant with new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines.
The City adopted a new policy that allows the Police Department to purchase food and basic refreshments while hosting training sessions. The Department is required to conduct 504 hours of mandatory training, some of which is done in-house and some are held by other law enforcement agencies. Prior to the new policy, law enforcement officers paid for these expenses “out of pocket”. According to Pass Christian Police Chief Daren Freeman, “our goal is to expand in-house training opportunities whereby we invite other law enforcement agencies here instead of us continuing to use outside resources for mandatory training. We can also charge the other agencies a nominal fee to attend our training courses.”
In financial matters the Board accepted a $300 donation from the Pass Christian Garden Club for two memorial trees in honor of the late Renee Brooks and the late Catherine Carson as well as a donation of $2,000 from Cruisin the Coast to the Police Department to help cover personnel related costs.
Additionally, the City also approved a $300 donation to the 2020 Gulf Coast Legislative Reception, $73,428 for asphalt projects to overlay Palm, Redwood and Earl/Church Street, $2,500 to repair road in the Whispering subdivision and $167,548.87 in Docket Claims.