City council finds property division difficult

Published 2:35 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dividing a piece of property could be an easy thing for Picayune’s City Council to do, if the people involved can come to an agreement.

That problem was dealt with at the council meeting Tuesday evening when the request for the city to abandon an alley located between 507 and 514 E. Third St. was discussed.

At the last council meeting the two families involved are in dispute who should have the land. Currently the city owns it, but has no plans for it. Now the council is asking the two families to come to an agreement to split the alley evenly, giving each of them an additional five feet to their existing property. If they can not come to an agreement the city will keep the alley, said Interim City Manager Harvey Miller.

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“Y’all just need to get together and work this out to the best interest of both parties,” Miller said.

The council approved a motion to table the matter until the next meeting to give both parties time to discuss it.

Reappointment of Melvin Hicks as Planning Commission chair person was on the agenda again, much to one council person’s distaste. At the last meeting the matter came up but was voted down by a vote of three to one. Council member Leavern Guy recused himself for that vote and council member Anna Turnage was not present for the meeting.

When the matter was brought again Tuesday council member Jerry Bounds asked why it was on the agenda again after they voted it down at the last meeting. He said even though it is in a city ordinance that the council has the ultimate decision who is appointed as a member to the commission chair, he thinks that decision should be made by the Commission.

“It is another controversial thing for us to deal with,” Bounds said.

Mayor Greg Mitchell said that the Commission elected Melvin Hicks as chair in a vote of 5 to 3. All the council was being asked to do was to ratify it. Mitchell then asked for a motion. Council member Donald Parker made that motion but it died for lack of a second. Again Guy recused himself from the vote, this time in a room adjacent to the council chambers.

Motorcycles in the Picayune Police Department are currently not equipped with video equipment like patrol cars are. But one of the department’s four motorcycles may just get such a system if their application for a Mississippi Department Public Safety Justice Assistance Grant is approved. The request to apply for the funds, which will require a 10 percent match, was approved in a motion by the council after it was determined that the match could come from the department’s drug forfeiture funds. Deputy Chief David Ervin said the motorcycles are used to make drug arrests just like the other department vehicles, making them eligible to use the funds.

If the grant is approved then this first camera system will be used as a test to see how well they work for the department, Ervin said.

The council went into executive session to discuss a possible sale of land. Also Guy made a motion to move a request concerning approval of the RFQ Committee’s recommendation to accept RFQ’s request from Siemens Building Technologies. Decisions on those matters were not available by press time Tuesday night.

In other business the council;

— Approved a contract between the city and Necaise Brothers Construction to perform a sanitary sewer survey at a cost of $212,240.69.

— Approved a request for cash for $124,92 for the construction of the new fire station. Funds are provided by a Katrina Community Development Block Grant.

— Approved a request for cash for $8,500 for the Avon/AGT project, also paid for with Katrina CDBG funds.

The next regular meeting of the council will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 20.