Council denies motion to adopt property near Superfund site

Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015

DISCUSSION: Councilor Larry Breland asks about one of the many issues covered at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

DISCUSSION: Councilor Larry Breland asks about one of the many issues covered at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

A motion to approve adoption of property adjacent to the Superfund site off of Rosa Street failed with a 3-3 vote.

A proposal to adopt the property was presented to the council at their last meeting in March. During the proposal, the council was presented with information concerning the site and its possible uses, which were restrictive.

Concrete slabs exist on the site, and it includes a section of the cap the Environmental Protection Agency installed to contain the creosote that had built up on the land due to decades of wood treating industries operating in the area. EPA regulations state the concrete slabs and the cap cannot be disturbed.

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When the matter came up for a vote during Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Ed Pinero Jr. and Councilors Wayne Gouget and Tammy Valente all voted against adopting the property. Councilors Lynn Bogan Bumpers, Larry Breland and Janice Stevens voted for adopting the property. The motion failed due to a lack of a majority vote.

In a separate matter, the council approved entering into a contract with Retail Strategies. According to coverage of a previous presentation made by the firm, Retail Strategies conducts retail consulting to attract businesses and industries to municipalities that employ their services. 

Breland asked Grant Administrator Christy Goss what kind of guarantees the firm makes to cities. Goss said the firm has a 100 percent success rate on their list of objectives for the first year.

The contract calls for the city to pay Retail Strategies $50,000 for the first year, and $30,000 per year for up to two more years if the city opts to continue the contract.

Goss said the price is higher for the first year due to the extra work involved to gather information they will need to sell the city to industries and businesses.

City Clerk Amber Hinton said the money to cover the contract fee would be paid from the city’s economic development fund. She said the account has enough funds to cover the first year.

The council approved a motion to enter into a contract with Retail Strategies. Breland expressed concern over spending money on projects when the city has not “supported city employees.”

City employees will now conduct a self-evaluation of the city’s sidewalks to ensure they are in compliance with ADA requirements. Public Works Director Eric Morris said the work will be done in preparation of applying for grant funding from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. During the evaluation employees will ensure disabled residents can properly access the sidewalks from parking spaces along city streets. Focus will also be on where crosswalks would be needed within the city.

District 6 Public Information for MDOT said in a previous interview that the city has the option to apply for grant funding to improve sidewalks and construct crosswalks. Since a railroad is near some areas of the city, the city would have to show where they have coordinated with the railroad company in the construction of crosswalks should they be constructed near the railway.

In other business the council approved:

— A request from The Plantation, located at 217 South Curran Ave., for a permit to sell alcoholic beverages less than and more than 5 percent by weight. Beverages in those categories include beer, light wine and liquor. Stevens voted against awarding the permit.

The next council meeting will be on April 21 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.