By Ricki Garrett, PhD, Alderwoman-at-Large
The Board of Aldermen meeting began with the approval of the consent agenda and a report from our Fire Chief, Jeff Blackledge. Chief Blackledge reported that there were, on average, 8.8 calls per shift. Over the year so far, there have been 1,364 Emergency Medical Service calls and 113 fire calls. Clinton is still under a burn ban. A newly-equipped brush truck will help our firefighters deal with off-road brush fires.
It was with great enthusiasm that the Board of Aldermen approved an addendum to extend the existing consulting agreement between Watkins & Eager PLLC and the City of Clinton for governmental affairs services through September 30, 2024. Former Congressman Gregg Harper and his team have done remarkable work lobbying for Clinton both on the Federal and the State level, and the extension of this contract will continue to benefit Clinton both financially and in other ways.
The Board next accepted a proposal by SouthGroup Insurance Services and authorized Mayor Fisher to execute the required documents to provide general, cyber, and workers compensation insurance for the City of Clinton. City Clerk Jimmy Baldridge indicated that he and SouthGroup Manager John Holder had been working on the proposal for several months, and it fell within the City’s budget requirements. Some cities have had difficulty in getting insurance. The deductible for wind and hail increased to $100,000.
In other action, the Board authorized an update to the resolution authorizing the agreement between BankPlus and the City of Clinton, which would add the Deputy City Clerk as a signer on the account in the absence of the City Clerk.
Police Chief Ford Hayman presented the Board of Aldermen with a request to accept a Homeland Security Grant award totaling $95,000 for the Clinton Police Department’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit, supplies and equipment for 2023-24. The Board approved it unanimously. The Board also gave approval to allow Clinton Christian Academy to reimburse the City for one full-time crossing guard (Mrs. Green) at the standard hourly rate/annual rate for crossing guards.
A motion to authorize the acceptance of a service agreement from Waste Management of Mississippi, Inc. for an additional pickup for the City Hall dumpster was withdrawn after the Board Members expressed concern over the additional charge for this service. A motion to table the issue was then approved unanimously. The Board asked Mayor Fisher to go back to Waste Management for further discussion of the issue.
The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a dimensional variance at 108 Norton Place from James and Laura Purdie, to increase the size of the storage unit on the property. The Board expressed appreciation for the attractiveness of the proposed unit.
The Board also approved unanimously an architectural review request by Kirkland Development for 161 Broadway Street for the painting of the storage facility that had been previously painted orange. Because the developer had not gotten approval prior to the painting, Board Members expressed their approval of the color, but their concern about the work occurring prior to approval. In another architectural review request at 941 Highway 80 East by Cowboy Maloney’s, the Board unanimously approved the painting, but, again, expressed concern over the fact that pre-approval had not been sought and granted. The Board is considering adding a financial penalty to any project that proceeds without prior approval.
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.