by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher
Last Tuesday, the Long Beach Board of Aldermen battled out a few “in-house” issues in a regular meeting which left the board divided towards the end.
Ward 6 Alderman Tricia Bennett asked for an added item on the agenda at the start of the meeting about appointing a new Mayor Pro Tempore for the “Friendly City.” When asked about her request, Alderman Bennett stated that she wanted a change and suggested the Alderman-at-Large Donald Frazer be appointed to fill the rest of the current administration term.
Current Mayor Pro Tempore and Ward 5 Alderman Mark Lishen stated his disapproval of the suggestion and expressed there was no need for change with only three meetings remaining in this administration. Lishen and Bennett will both be retiring at the end of the term on June 30.
After the frenzied discussion ended, the board voted 3-3-1 with Long Beach Mayor George Bass breaking the tie vote in a no vote for Alderman Frazer therefore keeping Lishen.
In the failed vote for change of the Mayor Pro Tempore; Aldermen Frazer, Bennett, Timothy McCaffrey voted Yes while Aldermen Ron Robertson, Bernie Parker, and Lishen voted No. Ward 3 Alderman Angie Johnson chose to abstain, which forced Mayor Bass to cast a vote where he voted No causing the motion to fail.
In a previous contentious concern, Ward 4 Alderman McCaffrey asked the city about work that occurred on a private property between Railroad Street and Alexander Road.
“We didn’t fix the drainage issue or we would have done the entire road to fix the issue,” said McCaffrey about the concern. “The reason I am frustrated is because taxpayer dollars are being spent on private property and we’re not doing it for everyone.”
City Attorney Steve Simpson conveyed his legal research on the scenario and advised the city that it was allowed to perform work on a private property for the purpose of correcting or mitigating drainage issues.
“The landowners asked if the city could go in and fix the flooding/drainage issue the city created and the answer is the city is obligated,” disclosed Simpson. “Same Attorney General opinion discussing authorizing the city to go in and clean ditches, the city may need to go in on private property to maintain drainage issues.”
Furthermore, Simpson declared this as an administrative issue, which the city dealt with rather than a construction item that would need the board of alderman approval. Both McCaffrey and Bennett noted for the record their disagreement with the qualifications suggested to enter and work on private property as no action was taken.
In other actions, the aldermen granted two additional weeks for cleaning of a property on Allen Road following a recommendation from the Building Code official and review of the photographs.
Finally, resolutions from the Gulf Coast Restoration Projects, the HVAC Repairs for the Library and a Bear Point Subdivision Preliminary Plat all were unanimously approved.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18 at 5pm in Long Beach City Hall.