by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher

Based on citizen input, the new Mississippi State Flag is flying proudly at City Hall and will be added at other City owned venues such as War Memorial Park.  The new Mississippi State Flag was approved by over 70% of Mississippi voters in November 2020 and signed into law by Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves in January 2021.

At a recent Board meeting Former Pass Christian Mayor Ted Lawyer and others asked that the new flag be flown as a sign of unity and inclusion. Pass Christian Mayor Jimmy Rafferty readily agreed and said, “we’ll make it happen “, and it did.

After serving many grueling years as the Beautification Director, Kirk Ladner was unanimously chosen as the new Public Works Director. Ladner overcame 20 plus other candidates vying for this key position to lead an excellent department that has many challenges ahead of it.

As noted by several Aldermen, Public Works is short on staff and equipment and both will be needed to deal with the ongoing flooding experienced throughout The Pass. Due to equipment problems and never ending rain, ditches haven’t been cleared in over seven months so this will be on the top of Ladner’s to do list as he takes the helm of the Public Works Department.

In other personnel actions Jim Simpson was reappointed as an Alternate Municipal Court Judge Pro Tem as well as Municipal Court Prosecutor Pro Tem Pro Tunc; firefighter recruits William Lee and Micheal Chillura were added to the Pass Christian Fire Department and Patrick Williams was hired to fill a patrol vacancy in the Pass Christian Police Department.

The Board approved the LAD Project’s fee waiver request to use War Memorial Park for their Back to School Prayer Rally on August 11, 2021; Golden Gulf Group and Extend a Hand to Help a Friend’s use of the East Harbor parking lot on July 2021 to set up their truck for a food drop; the reopening of the Pass Christian Senior Center; reappointment all City officials, Department Directors and employees, Court Clerks and Deputy Court Clerks, City Attorney, City Clerk, Deputy City Clerk, Building Official/Code Enforcement and City Planner; ratified and approved all City contracts previously approved and approved the next budget workshop for August 11, 2021, 6 p.m. at the City Court House/Auditorium.

Taxpayer dollars were approved to support the Pass Christian Cross Country Team via a $100 team sponsorship donation; $200 to The Gazebo Gazette for an ad in support of the 2021 High School Football Magazine; $500 annual donation to support Harrison County Triad; $500 donation to the Christian Concern Ministry/Pass Christian Food Pantry for fiscal year 20-21; $400 per month to AGJ Systems for backup and recovery services for the City’s IT systems; $6,900 per month to AGJ Systems for Complete Care Managed Services for the City’s IT Systems; $2,550.75 for two rescue manikins and $180.50 for two drag harnesses for rescue manikins; $200 per hour to hire Urban Development Toolbox, LLC tp prepare and file an application for 2022 Gulf Coast Restoration Fund Grant and $91,437,63 in Claims Docket expenses.

Regarding the IT related expenses, the City has yet to decide whether to hire someone to handle these functions in-house or to contract them out accordingly.

The Board reaffirmed it’s full support and commitment to Cruisin The Coast 2021; according to Mayor Rafferty this year’s Pass Christian Cruisin The Coast will be organized and run by Pass Christian Main Street.

He commented “Main Street has taken the lead on being the liaison with Cruisin the Coast and is doing an excellent job of bringing many parts of the community together to make this event even better than ever”.  The Pass Christian Cruisin the Coast Committee is comprised of Mayor Rafferty, Anita Giani (Lead), Woody Bailey, Bret Bentz, Mary Bourdin, Buddy Clarke, Daren Freeman, Dwight Gordon, Kirk Kimball, Kirk Ladner, Larry Pavolini, Terry Poore, Alderwoman Betty Sparkman, Mike Wilburn and Dia’Mond Woodman.

Mayor Rafferty also announced that the Pass Christian Cruisin Burnout will move from Second Street to Market Street.

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 3, 2021, 6 p.m. at the City Court/City Auditorium. The agenda can be found on the Pass Christian City website prior to the meeting.