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Aldermen hear concerns over city work on drainage ditch

Frustrations were high over a drainage project on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at the Poplarville Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday.

The Board heard concerns from residents who live on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The city recently completed improvements to a drainage ditch in the public right of way that runs near the residents’ property. Previously, the ditch was at the same elevation as the home, so storm water was running off the road into the yard and creating issues for the homeowner and residents.

One of the residents, Melvin Henry told the Board he believed the berm constructed behind the drainage ditch was much larger and higher than necessary to prevent flooding. The berm varies in width from four to 10 feet, said Henry, and was constructed from dirt removed from the ditch.

Henry was particularly concerned with a large amount of dirt left in the yard. Henry said he was told the city would add sod to the dirt, and instead brought grass seeds and hay.

Homeowner Joann Canaan also asked the Board to relocate a water meter. The water meter was relocated into the center of a walkway during the course of the project, which she believes is a safety concern. She also asked the Board to extend the drainage ditch so it reaches a nearby creek, which she understood was the original plan for the project.

Jason Lamb with The Walker Associates told the Board that the berm was constructed using dirt from the site to help reduce project costs and was intended to prevent storm water run off in a significant rain event. Lamb said reducing the size of the berm might not provide protection for excess rain events.

He also said that extending the drainage ditch or adding additional drainage measures could be performed, but the ditch was built in an effort to conserve funds. Lamb said the city already spent $11,000 to $12,000 on this particular drainage issue.

Board member Kevin Tillman made a motion to remove the dirt the homeowner wanted removed, relocate the water meter and add dirt to the end of the drainage ditch, but the motion failed for lack of a second.

Board member Anne Smith made a motion to remove some of the dirt and relocate the water meter, which passed.

“You can’t spend federal, state or local money on private property, so you better step mighty carefully doing that,” said City Attorney Manya Bryan.

In other business the Board:

—Entered executive session to discuss potential litigation. After the executive session the Board approved rescinding a motion to hire Mike Patten to research a title opinion for city property and approved hiring Ron Stockstill to do a title opinion for city property.

—Proclaimed October Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the request of the Gulf Coast Center for Non-Violence.