by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher
According to City records, Pass Christian resident Jourdan Nicaud’s initial request to glass enclose porches on the 1st and 2nd floors on the east side of his property at 503 East Scenic Drive was denied by the Pass Christian Historical Preservation Commission, on September 8, 2021 by a vote of 5-1.
As requested by Nicaud, a special meeting was held on September 15, 2021 to reconsider their initial vote. After a lengthy debate as well as input from Jourdan Nicaud and his architect, the Commission voted again with the results ending up in a 3-3 tie.
When asked by The Gazebo Gazette why he voted no, Commissioner Danny Taylor said that he couldn’t comment, saying that was during the meeting, which he would have answered the question.
Since the vote ended in a tie, the matter was referred to the Board of Aldermen which voted unanimously to approve Nicaud’s request.
Mayor Jimmy Rafferty attended both meetings and provided input to the appeal that included pictures of his Mother’s house. This is the second instance whereby the mayor has inserted himself with matters involving campaign contributor Jourdan Nicaud.
One of the Historic Preservation Commissioners ;that asked to remain anonymous, commented that in this specific case it might’ve been appropriate for the mayor to intervene since they believed that Nicaud’s request should’ve been approved in the first place.
Although the use of golf carts throughout the City was tabled, several members of the Board provided comments on the issue. Ward 1 Alderwoman Betty Sparkman had asked that the issue be added to the current agenda so City Attorney Malcom Jones and Police Chief Daren Freeman could provide an update to the Board. Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot interjected and made a motion to table the motion because at the last Board meeting, Alderwoman Sparkman had agreed that this issue would not be addressed until October.
Ward 4 Alderman Victor Pickich noted that the Board must be cognizant of limiting the City’s liability exposure. He added, “we’ve got to get it right the first time” so the Police Department can enforce the ordinance, the public understands the rules governing the use of golf carts and the Board doesn’t have to continually discuss or change the golf cart ordinance.
The vote was 4-1 to table the matter with Alderwoman Sparkman offering the only dissenting vote.
Another agenda item where no action was taken involved a scheduled update from a representative from the Pass Estates Developer concerning the ongoing maintenance of units at Pass Estates.
Unfortunately no one showed up to provide an update and residents of Pass Estates were asked by the mayor to hold comments until City Attorney Malcolm Jones arrived at the meeting.
To the dismay of Pass Estates residents in attendance, Jones didn’t make it to the meeting in time to address their concerns.
In a letter obtained from a source close to the City from David L. Kelly, a representative from Pass Estates, Kelly commented, “We have made significant progress in the past weeks by completing all the roof and stair repairs. We are in the process of working thru the remaining siding replacement and interior repairs as diligently as possible. Our presence will serve no useful purpose”. He added, “It is no surprise that our subcontractors as well as our own maintenance crews are short staffed.”
Kelly noted that they’ve been working closely with Tom Duffy and that weekly updates will be provided until all repairs have been made.
Unfortunately this information wasn’t provided to the residents at the Board meeting.
Several Pass Estate residents rose to complain about the unsafe and unlivable conditions in Pass Estates.
Of note was the possible correlation of mold in the houses to serious health conditions of some of the residents. The unanswered question is from a legal responsibility perspective, what role and responsibility does the City have to make sure these facilities are properly maintained? As one Pass Estate resident opined, the City is there to enforce all applicable building codes, City ordinances, etc.
The Board decided to spend money on a $1,000 donation to Harrison County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), an organization that advocates for abused and neglected children; $8,012 annual contract with the Humane Society of South Mississippi, a decrease of $2,647 from last year due to the outstanding efforts of Pass Christian Animal Control Officer Johnnie Jones; $400 monthly agreement with AGJ Systems for backup and disaster recovery for the City’s Information Technology (IT) systems; $6,900 per month agreement with AGJ Systems for complete managed services for the City’s IT systems; $4,826.10 to Urban Development Toolbox LL (Laurence Leyens) for work on Gulf Coast Restoration Grants for the 2021-22 funding cycle; $17,260 to Compton Engineering, Inc; $36,750 to Overstreet & Associates; $4,000 for setup and removal of concrete blocks in support of 2021 Pass Christian Crusin the Coast; an addendum which added $1,800 to Compton Engineering to conduct several bridge inspections and $174,600.27 in Claims Docket expenses.
In personnel matters, the Board ratified two resignations from the Police Department, School Resource Officer Kyle Craig and part time Officer James Stonewall; approved the hiring of Richard Storey as a Maintenance Personnel in the Public Works Department and hired Shalena Dailey as a part time contractor to act as the Gatekeeper to collect admission fees for the Pass Christian Recreation Department for the football season. Alderwoman Charlot recused herself because Dailey is her daughter. City Attorney Jones opined that this action is legal and does not violate the Ethics/Nepotism laws.
Other issues included the approval to close Davis Ave in front of The Whiskey Bar on October 23, 2021 in support of St. Paul’s Carnival Association’s Kick Off Party from 6 to 11 p.m.; the closing of the Church Avenue Park October for renovations and Coast Episcopal School’s use of 20 trash drums and 3 trailer mounted generators for Toast to the Coast to be held on October 15, 2021.
Even though the next Board of Alderman meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 5, residents can now live stream the event.