by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher
The December 21, 2021 Pass Christian Board of Alderman meeting began with a positive and festive tone until Ward 3 Alderman Kirk Kimball took the floor to discus concerns in Ward 3.
Perhaps Alderman Kimball’s passion and ire may have been the result of Mayor Jimmy Rafferty’s unilateral decision to remove an agenda item rendered by Alderman Kimball.
According to a response from City Attorney Malcolm Jones, “It is my understanding that the Mayor removed the code violation items from the agenda because he was informed at the time of the agenda request the Code office had not yet sent the affected property owners the initial required letters demanding compliance with the Code.”
Depending on either party’s point of view, it appeared that Alderman Kimball was not happy with the removal of his agenda item whereby he proceeded to grill Tom Duffy, Code Directer on concerns that he’d inquired about at previous meetings.
Duffy attempted to provide updates as requested, however Alderman Kimball was not satisfied with the answers he was being given.
Jones tried to intercede by explaining the process, however, Alderman Kimball appeared frustrated by the entire turn of events.
A question still remains whether or not the Mayor has the legal authority to remove an agenda item requested by a Board member.
It can be noted that Duffy maintained a list of properties under review that provides updates on each property.
His current list notes 17 properties being tracked that require action from the home owner and a list of 12 properties that have completed required actions by the property owner.
With the recent interest in the overall appearance of Pass Christian and the negative impact that blighted and overgrown properties have on the City, this issue will remain on the front burner for many months to come.
Alderman Kimball has been lauded by the Mayor, the Board and numerous citizens for his commitment, passion and dedication towards “cleaning up The Pass.”
Based on a great deal of citizen input the Board approved the addition of a new four way stop at the juncture of Fleitas and Second Street.
Several Alderman noted the dire need for resolving several safety related concerns, terrible impeded sight lines due to cars parking so close to the intersection as well as a house built extremely close to the street, the vast number of children and families crossing Second Street to get to the Splash Pad and other events and Ward 1 Alderwoman Betty Sparkman added that it would help reduce speeding on Second Street as well.
Although Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot stated her support and appreciation of this effort, she stated that she wasn’t happy with the way it was handled.
Charlot asked that in the future, if an issue came up in her ward, she asked that the administration notify her and keep her involved in the process.
In another unexpected change of events, the Board reversed it’s decision to eliminate the four way stop sign at St. Louis and Clarence Avenue.
Apparently, the decision by Mayor Jimmy Rafferty to get rid of the four way stop created a huge uproar from local citizens and businesses alike.
Although the mayor offered to conduct a traffic study on the matter, the Board was adamant about replacing the stop signs.
In financial matters, the Board approved awarding a $1,059,013.36 bid to Bottom 2 Top Construction LLC. for the Pass Bungalows Infrastructure Project with the developer being responsible for anything above the City’s Gulf Coast Restoration Fund Grant of $900,000, this is the City’s responsibility to match these funds; $6,170 to Overstreet and Associates for accrued engineering services for the Lynn Circle drainage project and other items listed on the ever growing consent agenda.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 4, 2022, 6 pm at the City Auditorium/Courtroom. Challenges abound for the Mayor and Board of Alderman in 2022.
Some of which include flood mitigation/flood control, senior citizen recreation programming, littering, teen and young adult recreation programming, harbor repair, economic sustainment and growth, road and infrastructure repairs, etc. Stay tuned to your Gazebo Gazette for coverage on these and other Pass Christian events.