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Katrina cleanup, other cleanup, still generating council action, comment

Councilman Anna Turnage is particularly angry over the condition of East Canal Street, saying it “looks like crap” with weed choked ditches and standing water that is breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Speaking on the issue at the end of the end of the meeting during the portion reserved for miscellaneous council members’ business, she pointed out the area is home mostly to the elderly.

Councilman Larry Watkins wants to know what happened to a federally funded effort to clean and open ditches and creeks throughout the city.

City Manager Ed Pinero said the ditch and streams cleanup funded through the a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency was not something that the city controlled, though he knew that the bids for the cleanup came in over budget and that the project had been scaled down. He told the council he would look into the matter and come back with a more detailed report.

Pinero and Mayor Greg Mitchell also said efforts would begin to cleanup the problems along East Canal.

“Since the storm, the demands on the city have increased and our people are working to try to keep up with the demand,” Mitchell said.

He said that recent rains have made it difficult for the city’s spraying program to keep up with the mosquitoes and the grass growing in city ditches and said that the problems along East Canal would be prioritized. Mitchell also said East Canal should be the “number one priority for blacktopping.”

During the regular session, the City Council recognized veterinarian Dr. Kevin Smith, who was presented a plaque by Fire Chief Keith Brown for his unflagging care for Fire Dog Pongo for the 13 years of his life.

Brown said that the veterinarian had adopted the dog along with the fire department and provided Pongo, a children’s favorite, with free care throughout his life.

At the urging of Guy, the council also voted to adopt into its minutes the cease and desist order issued by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to Stone Treated Materials.

City Attorney Nathan Farmer relayed a request from the company’s attorney to delay a hearing on declaring its property a public nuisance. The attorney had wanted 30 days, Farmer said, but the council voted to delay the hearing only two weeks, until the council’s next meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

At Guy’s request, during miscellaneous council members’ business, the council also voted to request the city’s Zoning Department to look into rezoning industrial property adjacent to Rosa Street. The property is the location of the Superfund Site of the old creosote plant and adjacent to Stone Treated Materials.

The council also voted to accept the resignation of Tony Smith from the Planning Commission and appointed Dennis Collier to replace him.

In other action, the council:

— Approved a request by Ted Smith, Mark Formby and Jack Devereux for a side yard variance for 30 days on the middle parcel for an existing house and to subdivide the parcel into three parcels, but denied a request by Smith to change the zone for property on Sycamore Road from Office-Professional to C-3 Highway Commercial and denied a request by Formby to rezone property at 1313 E. Sycamore Rd. from O-P to C-3.

— Approved hold a hearing in September on declaring several properties as public nuisances.

— Approved the consent agenda.

— Tabled adopting by-laws presented by the Planning Commission for corrections at the request of Pinero.

— Approved several resolutions required for the required to receive a Community Development Block Grant.

— Approved a request to except entry of judgment by default and final judgment for tax confirmation on five parcels in the name of Philip J. Kahn.

— Approved advertising for bids on storm repairs at Friendship Park.

— Approved several agreements relating to grants.

— Approved a request for city water service at 16 Buckley Place Rd.

— Approved a request from G-9, LLC to increase the area of an existing lease at the Picayune Municipal Airport.

Recessed until 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21.