By Ricki Garrett, PhD, Alderwoman at Large
Although I was at a meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and could not participate in the Board of Aldermen Meeting last week, I was able to later watch the meeting and will share the Board’s actions with you. We were also disappointed that the rain washed out our annual Fourth of July Celebration on Monday. This event is one of the highlights of the year, and, even though the opening band was able to perform and the fireworks were released, most of the event was rained out. Many thanks to our Parks and Recreation Department, as well as our other City departments, for this annual event.
Police Chief Ford Hayman provided an account of a live shooting/bomb drill on the campus of Mississippi College, which was used to train both our City police officers as well as the campus officers. The drill also included a drone under the direction of the unmanned aircraft system operators. According to Chief Hayman, the drill went very well with excellent communication, and Mississippi College is now considering arming its officers.
The Board also approved a number of Certificates of Appropriateness and Variances that came before the Board, including one for Ward 1 Alderwoman Karen Godfrey, who is renovating an old home in the Olde Towne area. The Board also approved a number of resolutions for unkempt property to come before it. In some cases, the unkempt property is already in the hands of the Secretary of State, due to unpaid taxes. In other cases, the property still has a homeowner, but the City may or may not be able to locate the owner regarding the status of their property. The City has an obligation to make sure that these properties are not an eyesore and, in some cases, are taken down, if necessary. However, the cost of doing this work is added to the tax burden of the owner, along with a fine, either in the amount of $1,500 or 15% of the cost of the clean-up, whichever is higher. Two of the State-owned properties that came before the Board this week are for sale by the State. The Board also discussed possible ways in which the City could advertise these properties, so that the citizens of Clinton are more aware that they are available for purchase from the State.
Ward 1 Alderwoman Karen Godfrey was appointed for the Alderman position on the Main Street Board of Directors. She will replace former Ward 3 Alderman Bill Barnett, who died in June. An election for his replacement on the Board of Aldermen will take place on August 2. Candidates for the position will run as Independents and will be required to present a petition with fifty signatures of qualified voters in order to be qualified to run for the office.
The Clinton Police Department has recently been approved for a fourth school resource officer through the MCOPS grant program for a total of $40,000, or $10,000 each, to supplement the salaries of the four officers. The Board also approved the hiring of a certified police officer, which brings the total to 57, out of 65 approved positions. Also approved were two firefighters, bringing the total to 51, out of 64 positions approved.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Space will be provided in each issue of The Clinton Courier to the Board of Aldermen for a recap of each meeting. Aldermen are asked to volunteer to provide this recap for the Courier.