by Calvin Ishee

After months and months of constant encouragement, cajoling and pleading, Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot’s perseverance finally pays off. At last Thursday’s Pass Christian Board of Alderman’s  meeting the Board voted unanimously to pass a City Resolution that encourages residents to wear masks, even if it’s no longer mandated by the State.

Since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, Charlot has pushed City leaders to pass a City Ordinance mandating Pass residents wear masks. Up until now however, the Board has been reluctant to do so because they felt that supporting CDC mandates and Governor Tate Reeves Executive Orders were enough. In fact, Ward 4 Alderman Victor Pickich repeatedly stated that a resolution or ordinance were not necessary due to the present orders in place.

Charlot’s concerns have been for the health of her mother, grandkids and the safety of all Pass Christian residents. At one Board meeting, Pass Fire Chief Dwight Gordon cited various reports stating that there were very few cases of COVID in the Pass and this action may not be necessary.  Another Board meeting a local business owner rose to express deep concern about the devastating negative economic impact that a mask mandate would have on local businesses, already struggling because of COVID 19.

Conclusively, the resolution was adopted asking residents to voluntarily wear masks when out and about in the City.  Unlike a City Ordinance that has legal implications and possible financial penalties, a resolution is not legally binding. Pass residents would have the choice of wearing masks or not, without fear of governmental persecution. It will be up to citizens to decide if wearing masks is good for the betterment of the community as a whole.

As the result of boat owners constantly failing to leave the Pass Christian Harbor during mandatory evacuation orders, the Board voted unanimously to charge boat owners that ignored the evacuation order with a misdemeanor. The Board debated whether or not to follow their own ordinance which stipulates a penalty of a misdemeanor charge and mandatory eviction from the Harbor.  Several Alderman were concerned about the loss of revenue if the boat owners were evicted as stated in the ordinance.

Both City Attorney Malcolm Jones and Harbor Master Marty Tiller encouraged the Board to follow the existing ordinance accordingly. Jones even commented, “You asked us to develop an ordinance, which we did…. but if you’re not going to follow it, then why have it?”  Apparently there were nine boats that didn’t leave the harbor as required by law. Boat owners that fail to follow the eviction edict can be charged a daily fine of $500.The Board approved a $500 annual donation to the Christian Concern Ministry/Pass Christian Food Pantry; $500 to Harrison County TRIAD/SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Council to be used in its service to Senior Citizens of Harrison County; payment of $7,002.50 to Overstreet & Associates and Claims Docket of $225,090.93 (CD-1), $18,264.65 (CD-2) and $573.98 (CD-3).

Due to the cancellation of this years Cruisin’ the Coast Burn Out event, the City reallocated $2,500 to Pass Christian Main Street. The funds will be used to pay for entertainment in support of Cruisin’ events still scheduled for the city.

Three agenda items were tabled, the acceptance of the 2019-20 inventory; awarding a bid for the Installation of Commercial Water Meters and the discussion regarding the city’s vehicle take home policy.