by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher

On January 18, 2022 the Pass Christian Board of Alderman unanimously approved a resolution to fight the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA)proposed flood insurance cost increases. If approved, local residents could see their flood insurance rates go up exponentially.

For example, a resident now paying $600 per year could easily see their insurance rate go up to $3,000 per year.

The resolution supports efforts by other coastal cities like Gulfport and Long Beach to encourage Congress to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Citizens are encouraged to personally contact Mississippi Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith as well as Representative Steven Palazzo and ask them to take immediate action to prevent the draconian flood insurance rates proposed by FEMA.

A twist to this story involves the alleged illegal removal of an agenda item offered by Ward 3 Alderman Kirk Kimball.  The original agenda posted on the City’s website on Friday, January 14, 2022 only had one item listed under item number one.  However on the official agenda distributed at the January 18, 2022 Board meeting, the agenda had a 1(a) and a 1(b).

According to an email from Mayor Jimmy Rafferty to Board members sent Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 3:53 pm, apparently both he and Alderman Kirk Kimball “both worked on it without the other’s knowledge.”

The emailed further stated, “I did not become aware of Alderman Kimball adding this to the January 18 agenda until Friday afternoon. Because the version Malcolm Jones worked on included the next step, i.e., a Resolution, I included this in the agenda sent out on Friday (and thought Alderman Kimball would be in agreement because it went one step further).  As you are aware, one of the objectives for the City this year is to increase efficiency.”

This is not the first time Mayor Rafferty has removed an agenda item requested by Alderman Kimball. In a front page story in the December 31, 2021 edition of The Gazebo Gazette, it noted Alderman Kimball’s “ire may have been the result of Mayor Jimmy Rafferty’s unilateral decision to remove an agenda item rendered by Alderman Kimball.”

Several sources have validated that a legal opinion from the Mississippi Attorney General’s office stated that the mayor does not have the legal authority to remove an agenda item requested from a Board member.

After a lengthy discussion, the Board voted to approve Alderman Kimball’s agenda item which included the aforementioned resolution.

Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot then offered recognition to several local residents for their years of outstanding community service: Kevin Woods Sr., 35 years and Nathaniel Stewart for 17 years. She also honored the Men of the Lighthouse of Pass Christian and DeLisle for making a positive difference in the lives of Pass Christian youth.

Pass Christian Fire Chief Dwight Gordon informed the Board that in 2024, the City would need to buy another fire engine.  This in spite of the fact that over the last several years the City has already spent over a million dollars to buy two new fire engines.

Gordon pointed out the City would need to decide before then on whether to spend $600,000 on a fire engine similar to what they already have or to spend a million dollars on a new ladder fire engine. He then announced that he had formed a Fire Apparatus Committee that would study the issue and then make a recommendation to the Board.

The seven person Committee is comprised of Police Chief Daren Freeman who will serve as the Chairman, Ollie Bailey, Chris Boudreaux, Ward 3 Alderman Kirk Kimball, Ward 4 Alderman Victor Pickich, Fire Chief Dwight Gordon and one other person yet to be determined.

The Board voted to fund Lynn Circle drainage/repaving project at a cost of $201,649; $1,000 to buy outdoor Mardi Gras decorations; $14,237 to DNA Underground, LLC for sewer repairs at Lang Avenue and Scenic Drive; $8,901.67 to G&O Supplies Co, Inc to buy pipe to make drainage repairs in the 300 block of Second Street; $25,123 to Ninja Concrete Coatings for new flooring in City Hall and Claims Docket expenses of $57,911.92.

The Board also voted unanimously to reject a $164,277 bid from Can’t Be Beat Fencing and to re-advertise accordingly.

Their decision was based on a recommendation from Compton Engineering Inc. that stated, “We recommend the Board of Alderman reject all bids and authorize the re-advertisement for bids for this project in an effort to solicit interest from additional contractors with the expectation of obtaining more competitive bid.”

A special meeting has been scheduled for Monday, January 24, 2022, 6 pm at the City Auditorium/ Courtroom to discuss the City’s plan to replace City Clerk Marian Governor. Governor unexpectedly resigned with an effective date of February 18, 2022.

The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 1, 2022, 6 pm at the City Auditorium/Courtroom.