by Calvin Ishee
Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot renewed her call for the City to remain cautious and vigilant with its efforts to prevent COVID 19 from spreading any further in the City of Pass Christian. Although there are only three confirmed cases in Pass Christian, Charlot expressed her opposition to many public events scheduled in the City over the next few months.
After a brief presentation by Jeepin the Coast representative Jennifer Moran and local business owner and event volunteer Mary-Catherine Scriber that outlined their financial support request of a little over $4,600 from the City, Charlot stated, “I have a problem with this event at this time. We’ve had the highest number of cases this week. I’m all for this but not now. We’re talking about exposing our small community to 1,800 or so people. Please reconsider”.
Ward 1 Alderman Buddy Clarke, a supporter of the event explained that they expected 300 jeeps, with two people per Jeep and stated “if everyone spends $50, then the anticipated economic impact would be thirty grand. We’re looking to do something for the City”. Mayor Chipper McDermott commented, “Every business owner in town is interested” in this event. He further stated, “I’m all in for this”. Scriber added, “Businesses will find the money one way or the other. We’ve already raised over $900 in sponsorships”.
Ward 3 Anthony Hall asked, “The original request was for $1,500, why the increase”? Clarke stated that when they made the original estimate, they were just beginning the planning stage and all of the anticipated costs weren’t available at that time. Since then they’ve gotten a better feel for the anticipated costs of the event.
Charlot added, “I don’t hear anything about the community. You want to put dollar signs over the community. I don’t want this in my City”. McDermott replied, “Single way to stop that is if they don’t want to go they can stay home. Last meeting the Board voted for it”. Clarke then responded, “I want to have it”. Pickich also added, “I’m for it”.
When asked for a comment after the meeting, Scriber commented “ As a local business owner and organizer for Jeepin the coast, I understand, respect and agree with COVID concerns as it relates to the health of the community. However, there are also economic concerns for the “health” of the community. Local businesses are the economic engine that drives the Pass. This is our flagship opportunity to be a gracious host to Jeepers and highlight our community. We’re grateful for that and sincerely hope this evolves into an annual event spotlighting the Pass.“
In the end, the Board voted 3-2 to contribute $2,500 to cover the cost of the band. Alderman Clarke, Ward 4 Victor Pickich and At-Large Alderman Kenny Torgeson voted yes and Alderwoman Charlot and Alderman Hall voted no.
The Board spent taxpayer money to fund a modification to the Water Department Counter to allow social distancing between employees and customers, $6,500; made a $2,500 financial contribution to Jeepin the Coast to pay for the band; authorized $462,066 to pay for a new fire engine; $11,742.50 for new time clocks which offers employees a new safety feature while also replacing an outdated system; $2,100 for replacement of antiquated computers at the Fire Department; $654.90 for police uniform reimbursements and a Claims Docket of $112,482.14. Also approved was the acceptance of a $5,000 donation from the St. Paul’s Carnival Association for “the hard work and dedication our City workers and first responders provided to the Association”.
In other matters the Board approved St. Paul’s Carnival Association’s request to host the 2021 Pass Mardi Gras Parade on Sunday, February 14th, 2021; Red Cross request to use Randolph Center on Thursday, August 27th for their annual Katrina Memorial Blood Drive; Pro-Life Mississippi’s request to use Henderson Park on Saturday, October 24th for their Walk for Life; the PC Volunteer Fire Department’s request to use the Davis Avenue Pavilion on Saturday, June 20th for their Annual Crawfish Boil and the Whiskey Bar’s request to close Davis Avenue on July 3rd for a July 4th Celebration.
Also approved was the Mayor’s request to accept Amy Wood’s resignation from the PC Historical Preservation Commission and her appointment to the PC Planning Commission.
Anyone interested in filling the vacancy on the Historic Preservation Commission should contact the Mayor’s Office at 228-452-3310.
Three Re-Subdivision requests were approved, one on 125 Youngswood Loop, another on Hope Lane and on at 112 Magnolia Drive. Additional information can be found at the Planning Office located in City Hall.
In Public Comments Dr. Carla Evers, Pass Christian School District Superintendent, thanked the Board for their ongoing support and offered a brief summary about the upcoming school year. City Attorney Malcolm Jones commented, “You were a great leader during tough times”. Dr. Evers replied, “It’s been a team effort”. Alderman Hall thanked the Police Chief for supporting the Prayer Walk and added “well done!”. He also thanked the people for doing that. He said that “we need to keep the dialogue going.”
An unnamed resident of Pass Estates complained about various ongoing unresolved issues in her apartment. She complained about her apartment being flooded because a leaky toilet had not been repaired in a timely manner. She stated that her latest problem was a termite infestation.
Mayor McDermott directed Building Code Enforcement Director Tom Duffy to contact the apartment owners to resolve these issues soonest.