by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher

A major discussion ensued at the November 2,  2021 meeting of the Pass Christian Board of Alderman regarding the reopening of the Randolph Center. Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot was adamant that repairs be made before allowing the center to reopen.

Charlot specifically noted her safety concerns regarding chipped paint, damage to the roof and the mess remaining on the stage from a theater group. She commented, “Randolph Center needs to be kept up. We need to keep better care of it.”

City Attorney Malcolm Jones assured the Board that the Randolph Center was indeed safe to use. He offered a counter proposal to Alderwoman Charlot’s proposal whereby the City would get the building cleaned up, the peeling paint scraped and repainted as needed, he will tell the theater group to remove their items currently stored in the building and will confirm these items have been resolved to the Board before reopening the building.

Jones added that the Randolph Center is on the federal Historical Register and must be maintained accordingly. He further added that the City will devise a plan to properly renovate the Randolph Center.

The Board approved reopening the center provided the items mentioned by Alderwoman Charlot had been taken care of.

Alderman at Large Kenny Torgeson asked about the reopening of the Randolph Senior Citizens Program. Torgeson asked, “I’ve had a few citizens ask me when will the Senior Citizen part of it open back up.”

The City noted that there was work that still needed to be done before restarting the Senior citizens program.

Pass Christian Mayor Jimmy Rafferty commented about the needed repairs, “Let’s do that right away”.

There was big news in the personnel arena as two key positions were filled by the City; Paul Ratliff was selected for the Accounts Payable and Purchasing Clerk position while Susan Putnam was hired in the recently created part time  Community Affairs Assistant position.

Putnam is well known around The Pass for her work with Pass Christian Main Street.

Expenditures were approved to purchase four new vehicles for the City at a total cost of $132,902, the purchase included a Ford F-150 SSV for the Police Department, a Ford F-150 SSV for the Fire Department, a Ford F-150 SSV for the Public Works Department and another Ford F-150 SSV for the Beautification Department; also approved was an agreement for services with Future Design Group for redesigning the City’s website at a cost of $16,509, $250 monthly fee for website security and $150 per year for hosting and renewal fee, City Clerk Marian Governor stated that Department Heads would be responsible for maintaining and updating their portion of the website.

Additionally, a contract was approved with ACJ for $22k for the Fiber Internet Consolidation Project, this will be funded by savings of $21,600 from the switch to CSpire and $9k in Cableone internet services.

Tabled was the awarding of a contract not to exceed $49,000 for the purchase and replacement of fill dirt for the leveling of the property at the Beach Bungalow Project located on the northwest corner of Market Street and Scenic Drive.

The item was tabled because no one submitted a bid for the contract.

In routine business the Board approved a myriad of support requests from Anita Giani, Pass Christian Main Street Representative for 2021 Christmas in the Pass. She also asked the Board for Susan Putnam to handle the vendors associated with the event.

Giani further stated that since the Pass Christian Chamber of Commerce is not providing the support they provided in the past, Main Street would need to rely more on Putnam to fill in the gaps. Giani also noted that Putnam has done a great job of handling Christmas in the Pass when she was employed by Pass Christian Main Street.

Also approved was a request to approve the use of the City parking lot located at the City Recreation Complex on Fleitas Avenue.

This will serve as overflow parking for Anne-Marie Doty’s wedding on the afternoon of November 6, 2021. The actual wedding ceremony will take place at the home of Dale and Carroll at 765 East Scenic Drive.

The Board voted unanimously to approve adopting a Proclamation honoring Mack Moore for his 90th birthday as well as his service to our country.

Mack courageously and admirably served in the United States Air Force for 20 years beginning on August 15, 1951.  Mack has led an active and distinguished life and the City wanted to honor him on his 90th birthday.

During Public Comments Pass Christian resident Marion Hamilton expressed her concerns about the lack of recreation programs and services for the teens in the City. She stated that there was no place for the teens to go, “I don’t think it’s fair that our youth have nothing to do here”  no gym or recreation center.  She then added, “We don’t do nothing for teens. We’re losing our young adults because there’s nothing to do.” Mayor Rafferty stated that he would schedule a meeting with the Recreation Director to further discuss this matter.

Marion Governor commented that in the very near future, Pass Christian residents will be able to pay for City services online. Parents will be able to register their kids for recreation programs, pay court fees, etc. all without leaving their home.

In a follow up to the last Board meeting held on October 19, 2021 when Mayor Rafferty told a citizen that flood mitigation was part of his business plan, it was discovered that no such business plan exists.

In an email from Malcolm Jones to The Gazebo Gazette, the email stated, “The Mayor has advised that he has no document as part of a “Business Plan” concerning Flood Mitigation.”  Jones added, “However I am working on attempting to find a grant writer to assist the City in making application for a FEMA Flood Mitigation assistance grant under the new BRIC Program. As of yet, I have not secured a person to do this and no documents have been generated for such an application.”

The next Board of Alderman meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 6 pm at the City Auditorium/Court Room. You can also watch the live stream version via the City’s official Facebook page.