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City Council quickly deals with short agenda

The Picayune City Council quickly handled a relatively short agenda, at the end of which Mayor Greg Mitchell gave a quick update on some projects around the city.

During the meeting, the council set a hearing on the cleanup of a few properties and declared as public nuisances a string of others after removing from the list a few properties where the owners had taken action to demolish dilapidated buildings or otherwise cleaned them up.

One piece of property was removed from the list because an incorrect address had been used in giving notice to the property owner. City attorney Nathan Farmer said that because of the incorrect identification of property, the notice was “improper” and another notice correctly identifying the property would have to be given the owner.

Owners of two properties that were declared nuisances were given extensions of time in which to clean them up or demolish dangerous buildings since they had already begun work to handle the problems.

Mary McPherson told the council that she and her husband have done everything that could be done with a chain saw on their property at 206 S. Abrams and had contacted a contractor to come by the property to look at removing a dilapidated building and all the material that had been cut down. She asked for 30 days to complete the process.

Alvin Farmer asked the council for 90 days to demolish a building on property he has inherited at 802 Jarrell St. He said the grass had been cut on the property and he needed 90 days to have a building assessed for repairs or demolished.

Councilman Leavern Guy told both property owners that the council’s policy in cases such as theirs is to declare the properties as nuisances, then give the owners 30 days to complete their efforts to deal with the property themselves. He told Farmer that as long as it was clear that he was making a “good faith effort to deal with this” the council could extend the grace period 30 days at a time.

At the end of the meeting, Councilman Jerry Bounds asked for an update on phase two of the Memorial Boulevard project and made a motion to give 30 days notice to Meter Readers Specialists that its contract is being terminated and that meter reading was being taken back over by the city.

Nathan Farmer told Bounds that the city has settled its dispute with Auto Zone over right-of-way and has a trial date of Feb. 23 to settle its dispute with Burger King.

Bounds’ motion concerning Meter Readers Specialists died for lack of a second after Farmer suggested that the matter be dealt with in executive session because of litigation.

Mitchell then told the council and others present at the meeting that the city is moving forward with a number of projects, including drainage projects. He said that many places that have regularly flooded in the past during heavy rainstorms did not flood during one last week and that bids are being sought for more drainage work to be funded by a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services.

He also said work should begin soon on repaving West Canal Street and Telly Road and making Telly Road one way from Mississippi 43 to U.S. 11.

“Several projects are going forward and there are going to be a lot more of them … The city is strained at the seams. … There will be times when things don’t go according to plan,” Mitchell said.

In other matters, the council:

— Tabled a request to replace the roof on the old Arizona Chemical building, now being used as city hall.

— Approved using $25,000 donated by Norfolk Southern Railroad for Arizona Chemical building renovations and for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for the city employees as part of the city’s team building efforts.

— Approved the Toys for Tykes motorcycle run on Saturday, Dec. 9.

— Approved the final development plan for Beau Jardin phase 2 block A, contingent on receiving required state permits.

— Accepted the resolution of the Planning Commission for the preliminary plan for Breckenridge Subdivision, contingent on preliminary plan approval subject to completion of annexation proceedings and acquiring all permits required by law and subject to permits relative to flood mitigation.

— Approved the temporary used of a mobile home for a temporary office building at 915 U.S. 11 South.

— Approved two home occupation licenses, one for Ashlie King at 1804 Orleans Blvd. for a photography studio and one for La Shawn McGee for a medical billing business.

— Approved several professional firms for potential projects funding by 2006 Katrina Supplemental CDBG funds.

— Approved submitting a full application to USDA Rural Development for a grant of $151,000 for emergency equipment for public buildings.

Went into executive session on two contractual matters, the possible sale of real property and personnel matters.

Recessed.