by Calvin Ishee, Publisher
At the December 7, 2021 meeting of the Pass Christian Board of Alderman, the Board voted unanimously to implement short term parking restrictions on Davis Avenue. The measure, introduced by Ward 3 Alderman Kirk Kimball designated two fifteen minute parking spaces in front of Pass Cigars between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Additionally the board also voted to implement two hour parking restrictions on several parking spaces located on Second Street, in front of Coast Eye Care. This restriction will also be in place Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In an email response from Alderman Kimball to questions from The Gazebo Gazette regarding why this action was taken, Alderman Kimball stated, “Recognizing the need for easy ingress and egress for businesses in town, I took it upon myself to tackle the issue of parking in more congested areas. No person or business asked me to work on this issue. But because I am a business owner myself in a large city that has major parking issues, I know that limited or difficult parking can put a damper on my business.”
He also noted that he reached out and proactively got input from local businesses. He concluded by stating, “My personal feeling is that we must make all businesses as accessible as possible so they can flourish”.
When asked who would monitor and enforce these new parking restrictions City Attorney Malcolm Jones stated, “the police department will be responsible for enforcement of these new parking rules.”
The amount of fines charged for parking violations was not addressed at this meeting.
The Board approved four usage and/or fee waiver requests for use of City facilities: Masonic Lodge and the Eastern Star Chapter for use of room 106 at the Randolph Center for recurring twice a month meetings; the Art Association’s use of room 106 at the Randolph Center for weekly meetings; the PC Volunteer Fire Department’s use of the Randolph Center for their Annual Installation Dinner and the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency’s use of War Memorial Park for their annual 100 Hero Bike ride.
Three of the requests were approved individually via the regular agenda while the fourth was included in the overall Consent Agenda. No explanation was given why the use and/or fee waiver requests were separated.
In personnel matters the Board approved the hiring of Bruce Wilkerson to fill an existing vacancy in the Fire Department. In a 3-1 vote, the Police Department received approval to create and fill a new Captain/Commander of Operations position. Bill Brett was promoted to officially serve in this new position. The only dissenting vote came from Alderwoman Charlot. At Large Alderman Kenny Torgeson was not present at this meeting, hence the 3-1 vote.
According to Pass Christian Police Chief Daren Freeman, Brett had already been serving close to six months in this capacity while the position description was being properly completed and reviewed by the PC Civil Service Commission.
According to City officials, two of the three commissioners met on November 15, 2021 where they approved the proposed job description. The third member of the commission told The Gazebo Gazette that he had not been notified about the meeting.
Commissioners include Adam Pace, Donald Moore and Halle Ricketts.
As noted on the City’s website, the PC Civil Service Commission meetings are held on the 3rd Monday of the each month, at 5:30 and are held at the Pass Christian Police Department. As with all City meetings they are open to the public.
Other items approved included the removal of the four way stop sign at the junction of Clarence and St. Louis; City support for 2022 Jazz in the Pass and donations were accepted from Walmart, Martins Hardware, Portable Services and Silver Slipper Casino.
Items tabled included a new Policy for Installation of Culverts on Private Property which involves setting fees for work as requested by Mayor Rafferty and a request from the John W. Randolph (JWR) Educational and Cultural Heritage Council to use a room in the Randolph Center for three days a week.
Taxpayer funds were approved to update the City’s Comprehensive Plan, $15,000 to Planner Donovan Scruggs; $4,000 to Mark Blackmer for the set up and transfer of the concrete barriers for the 2021 Cruisin’ The Coast; $150 to pay for a full page advertisement in the 2022 Carnival Ball Program for the St. Paul Carnival Association; $1,284 annually to add a hand washing station at Church Park and over $288k in Claims Docket expenses.
The City announced the reopening of the Senior Citizens Center located in the Randolph Center. Marie Lamb and Gladys Desantis will resume their duties on Monday, December 13, 2021. Citizens have been clamoring for expanded senior citizen programs and services and the City announced they will be hosting an Open House “at the beginning of January 2022”. As quoted in the agenda for this meeting, “This event will be marketed to the Pass Christian Senior Community and will be an opportunity for input into program ideas”.
During public comments a citizen complained about the never ending delays to the re-paving project on Lynn Circle. Mayor Jimmy Rafferty explained that miscommunication and misunderstandings added unexpected delays to this project.
Mayor Rafferty repeatedly told the obviously frustrated resident that the final plan for Lynn Circle would be completed no later than 21 December. The plan is expected to be presented to the Board at they’re next meeting on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, 6 p.m. at the City Courtroom.
If you’d like to review the last Board meeting for yourself, visit the City of Pass Christian’s Facebook page.