Review of May 5, 2015 Board Meeting: The Wizard of Oz Edition
The first agenda item was to present a proclamation to Ms. Jayda Brambaugh for her accomplishments in the Lumberton Library Reading Fair. The board voted to allow the South Mississippi Housing and Development Corp. Board of Directors to use the Lumberton Board Room on Thursday, May 28, 2015. The board voted to schedule a workshop with Delta Water, LLC on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 5:30 pm. The board approved the minutes of the April 7 and 16, 2015 meetings. The department heads gave their reports.
Chief Cowart advised the board of the need for more officers. She also informed citizens of the Metro Crime Stoppers Program where citizens can give anonymous tips regarding criminal activity. Callers are given a code number and if their tip leads to an arrest, the caller receives a reward. The number to call is 601-582-STOP. The city clerk said the water bills were mailed on April 30, 2015. Danny Davis addressed the board regarding the pending projects. Davis also said he noticed a lot of graves in the Love's Addition Cemetery are caving in but he was reluctant to fill in the graves because it would require covering the slab over the grave. If you have a loved one buried in that cemetery and would like the grave filled, please contact Danny Davis and let him inow. Davis also reported that our water passed the tests and is the best in the area. Mayor Winston informed citizens that the National Day of Prayer event will be held at city hall and not at the community center due to lack of interest.
The board approved unpaid claims for the month of April in the amount of $16,098.94 for general fund and $24,010.73 for WSOM. The board approved paid claims for the month of April, 2015 in the amount of $86,507.18 general fund and $56,306.16 WSOM. The board approved payroll for the month of April, 2015 in the amount of $45,051.74. The board voted to renew the lease with the Gold Coast Skydivers for 2 years at a rate of $350/month. LeeAnn Igo, owner, was at the board meeting and despite not turning in financial records, a stipulatiom of the lease, and claims of not making profits, she requested the board give her a 10 year contract. Thankfully, Alderman Quincy Rogers had the wherewithal to know better and said that would tie the hands of the next board. McGraw would agree and they gave her the 2 year lease. The city clerk received permission to purchase surveillance cameras for city hall. Personally, it seems like a waste of money since the police station is across the hall and usually on speed dial but it will show the traffic into city hall and could possibly help citizens that are often accused by the clerks of behaving inappropriately. The question remains, will there be a monitor in the police department as well as the clerk's office and more importantly, where will the DVR system be held? I'm dure that once the system is up and running, there will be the typical glitches that plague certain offices at city hall, especially if certain visitors are shown to be in the building for extended periods of time. The board acknowledged that they didn't know if there was money in the budget for this expense but they will "find" the money. It amazes me that one person at city hall can cry wolf and they come a running even with police in the building but they can't understand citizens request for more police officers. Everytime city hall is open, they have a constant police presence but citizens are not afforded that same level of protection. When we need an officer after business hours or on the weekend, it's a roll of the dice if we get a response, despite calls to 911.
The board voted to set a budget workshop on May 12, 2015 @ 4:30 pm. The board wanted to wait until the budget workshop before making a decision on the following: reinstate Betty Speights to a 40/week, impose a collection fee on accounts 90 days past due, sign a contract for a software program that would allow Chief Cowart to collect deliquent fines, and hire 2 part time police officers. Each agenda item was put on the shelf despite their ability to bring in more revenue. Are you seeing the pattern? The board accepted the Mississippi Department of Health Report of Inspection of Drinking Water Report. The board also voted to turn over the Lumberton Fire Department and properties (including 50 foot easement) to Lamar County for the purchase price of $1.00. The board voted to have Ms. Ann Todd to go to the County Website and input activities regarding the City of Lumberton. Water bill refunds were approved and citizens comments were allowed before the meeting was adjourned.
This was called the Wizard of Oz edition because it seems that our board is comprised of individuals lacking a heart, a brain and courage. Thankfully, they only have 2 more years on this yellow brick road. At some point, they're going to realize there's no place like home and there's no wizard that can fix their problems.