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City Council tabled one matter, dealt with another

Two matters that were tabled at a previous meeting were handled differently at Tuesday’s Picayune city council meeting.

Both matters dealt with the subdivision of property and both were in the same district of councilwoman Anna Turnage, who was again absent from the council meeting due to health reasons.

The first matter involved subdivision of two parcels into one and the second matter involved subdivision of one parcel into six.

The first matter deals with a request from local business woman Michelle Durr wanting to subdivide two parcels on East Canal into one. She has one building on each parcel. Her plans involve turning one of those buildings into multipurpose hall. The other building houses a salon.

In the second matter developer Jesse Lee requested to subdivide his 2.34 acre parcel on Maple Avenue into six lots so he can build six duplexes.

Interim City Manager Harvey Miller said Turnage requested the matter be tabled, which the council did. Turnage made the request so she can hear the matter upon her return at the next meeting, Miller said.

When the second matter came up the council allowed city resident Judy Stockstill to express her issues concerning drainage, sink holes and privacy problems the duplexes would cause to her elderly mother who lives next door. After Stockstill and Lee had a discussion on the matter and came to an agreement, councilman Donald Parker asked why the second matter was taken up for discussion when the first matter was tabled. Parker said both items were in the same district it appeared they were not dealt with equally.

“We have a history of doing this,” Parker said. “As it stands I just don’t see the fairness in it.”

Miller and councilman Larry Watkins said the reason the second matter was being discussed was because Turnage did not have issues with it, but Turnage did indicate she wanted Stockstill’s issues brought before the public. However both Turnage and councilman Leavern Guy had issues with the first matter so since both Guy and Turnage were absent for Tuesday’s meeting the matter was tabled. After Parker said he had no issue with the council or the mayor and expressed his willingness to proceed the council took action on the second matter, approving the subdivision of the 2.34 acres.

An ordinance was passed at Tuesday’s meeting allowing buildings to be built at increased heights. The council first held a public hearing on the ordinance, hearing specifics presented by council attorney Nathan Farmer. Farmer said the ordinance will now allow buildings in certain commercial areas of the city to be built at a maximum height of five stories or 60 feet. The new ordinance does not apply to residential construction or mobile homes, Farmer said.

The ordinance was approved by the council.

When the topic of advertising for semi annual bids came up Mayor Greg Mitchell suggested the council no longer go out for bids to avoid getting stuck in a six month contract. He said he would like to see the city save money, since prices fluctuate regularly. If the city is in a six month contract then they will have to pay the same price during the life of that contract even though they could be getting that same product at a cheaper price.

Miller reminded Mitchell that Mississippi bid laws state any purchase made by a government entity for more than $5,000 must have a quote and purchases of more than $25,000 must have at least two bids. If bids or quotes are not taken for such purchases then the city will not be covered under the current bid laws, Miller said.

“I’m not saying the city is guilty of that, I know they’re not,” Mitchell said.

Miller said any bid that the city gets that is not at a comparable price can be rejected by the council. The council took no action on advertising for semi annual bids.

In other business the council went into executive session to discuss contractual matters with CRI Web Design and Kanduit Construction and the possible sale of land. Another unnamed contractual matter was added to the agenda via an amendment and also taken up during executive session. Decisions on those matters were not available at press time Tuesday night.

The council also;

— Appointed Patty Stewart to replace Jenny Dodd on the Picayune School Board. Miller said Dodd requested not to be reappointed due to an ongoing family emergency.

— Approved final payment to Kanduit Construction for work done on the Intermodal Transportation Center.

— Approved assessing property tax liens against properties declared a public nuisance by the city which have been cleaned up by the city.

The next council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. March 17.