by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher
The agenda simply read, “Consider City owned property at Second Street and Clark Avenue as a possible sale to a developer that is the process of building homes parallel to the City’s existing property, as requested by Mayor Chipper McDermott.”
This stimulated a hearty discussion from four of the aldermen with only Ward 1 Alderman Buddy Clarke immediately in favor of selling the property outright to the developer.
Based on the wording on the agenda, there was a perception the Mayor wanted to sell the property to the developer without ensuring that the City got the best price for the City.
Mayor McDermott commented that he didn’t care who bought the property but he felt the time was right to go ahead and sell it. Furthermore commented, “There’s two things that shouldn’t be in real estate, churches and government!”
The Mayor repeatedly questioned the board by stating, the real question is “Do you want to sell it?”
Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall stated, “I’m not opposed to selling this property, I want to get it appraised, I want to know what it’s worth” before we sell it. McDermott also added, “This is a win/win and I am 150% in favor of selling this lot!”
After further discussion, Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot commented, “I’m not opposed to” selling this property, “but I want to table” this item. The Mayor mentioned that he had already discussed this with some of the Alderman whereby Alderwoman Charlot retorted, “I don’t have enough information and I’m not privy to that information like the rest of you are”.
The Mayor agreed but immediately added, “Okay but it will be the first item on the agenda at the next meeting”.
Perhaps several questions that Pass Christian residents could ask themselves: 1) Should the City sell this land and if so, shouldn’t it get fair market value instead of the appraised value? 2) As development on Market Street grows, should the City save this land for public parking as originally planned or should the City “cut bait” and sell it to the developer?
On a more brighter note, the Trinity Dog Park is finally coming to fruition. The Trinity Dog Park Committee has announced the grand opening of the first dog park in Pass Christian on Saturday, April 10th, 2021. They further announced that a pawrade will begin at around 10 am and will start at City Hall and end at Ridge Park on St. Louis Street. The “unleash the Park”, better known as ribbon cutting will begin at around 10:30 am.
In financial matters, the board approved a $250 donation to the Pass Christian Park Commission for their annual Easter Egg Hunt to be held on Saturday, April 3rd at Memorial Park; $54,095 for five different Hurricane Zeta repair projects which the City hopes to get reimbursement from the federal government; $26,789 for portable and mobile radios for the Police Department and $158,702 in Claims Docket expenses.
In routine business, approved actions included loaning the City’s stage to the City of Long Beach for their Jeepin’ the Coast Parade on Saturday, June 15th, 2021; proclaimed March 7-13 as National Girl Scouts Week; accepted a live oak tree donation for Memorial Park; a traffic study to determine the need for a speed bump on Courtney Avenue as requested by Alderman Buddy Clarke as well the paving of Lynn Circle as requested by Alderwoman Regina Charlot and Alderman-at-Large Kenny Torgeson.
Although Mayor McDermott told a citizen that “we don’t normally pave in the middle of the year, if the Board wants to do it we’ll do it”. He further noted that this could be paid for from collected internet sales taxes.
Estimated cost of this project is around $40,000. Several other Alderman asked that funds be used for road repairs in their particular ward. The City will look at all proposed paving needs, will prioritize them and fund them as money permits.
The Board reauthorized the continuation of it’s Proclamation declaring a local emergency concerning the COVID-19 Pandemic which encourages all residents to wear masks and socially distance while in public.
During an Executive Session the Board approved the termination of an employee assigned to the Public Works Department. The next meeting for the Pass Christian Board of Alderman is scheduled for Tuesday, March 16 at the Municipal Court.