Review of September 1, 2015 Board Meeting: The Steal of the Century Edition
The first agenda item was to authorize the Mayor to sign the FAA grant offer for the FY 2015 FAA-AIP grant application. The order to award a contract in the amount of $93,645.00 for the sewer improvement project on Lower Airport Road was voted down. They have the grant to fix the problem but on the advice of Mayor Winston, they tabled the matter. I guess the residents on Lower Airport Road are getting taxation without representation. There was an order to allow Mr. Charles Camerson to speak to the board regarding the site on the interstate but he was a no show. There was an orcer to approve the minutes. The board voted to allow Mayor Winston sign an Inter-Local Agreement with Lamar County. When Cora Rogers asked for an explanation, Winston told her it was to get dirt and supplies from the county but the state laws says an inter-local agreement includes the following: police protection and detention services;fire protection; streets, roads, and drainage; public health and welfare; parks and recreation; library and museum services; records center services; waste disposal; planning; engineering; administrative functions; public funds investment and comprehensive health care and hospital services. Again, this board blindly votes for something because Ben says it's for one thing but they should have asked to see the contract first. When will they learn?The board voted to allow Danny Davis to attend a Water Supply Course in Biloxi on September 14-17, 2015 at a cost of $712.95. The department heads gave their reports. The city clerk was bragging about the decrease in worker's comp claims right before it was explained that Danny Davis wasn't present because he was at the hospital with a worker that was injured today. Ben Winston gave his monthly address, asking citizens to clean their property. Has anyone seen his property at both entrances of the city? Maybe he should take his own advice. There was an order to approve unpaid claims for August, 2015 in the amount of $28,244.29 general fund and $15,674.65 WSOM. There was an order to approve the paid claims for the August, 2015 in the amount of $40,325.20 general fund and $34,743.98 WSOM. There was an order to approve payroll for the month of August, 2015 in the amount of $36,604.04.
There was an order to set a public hearing for the 2016 budget. The public hearing is set for September 8, 2015 at 6. After a citizen asked when will the citizens get a chance to review the new budget, he was informed that we can see the budget on the day it's submitted to the auditor, September 15, 2015. I'm going to make a wild guess and say there's no changes or millege rate increases. A year ago, Ben begged the Lamar County Board of Supervisors for help because there wasn't enough money in the budget for police protection. So surely, he had enough sense to raise the millege rate. Who am I kidding, I'm talking about Ben. At times like this, I wish Stephanie Mullings was serving as city clerk. Maybe they need to consider rehiring her. Just last month, Tommy Dukes said everyone deserves a second chance and in this case, I agree. I know there's some that think I am critical of the clerk because I want her position. Based on my years of attending board meetings, I could perform the job; hell, a trained seal from Marine Life could do a better job but that's not the issue. I blog because people need to know what's going on. But that's another blog post for another day. You know they want to put bloggers in jail for expressing their freedom of speech while thieving aldermen get to pay restitution while seeking "treatment". There was an order to discuss the contract with Southern Financial for collection of fines. Chief Cowart tried to explain the costs but the board members didn't comprehend what she was saying. After some brow beating, Alderwoman at Large Cora Rogers convinced the board to approve her attendance to the MML Conference in Starksville from October 13-15, 2015 at a cost of $646.18.
The order to vote to reinstate Betty Speights to full time deputy clerk failed. Alderman Quincy Rogers was the only one voting to reinstate Speights as full time while Kent Crider, Tommy Dukes and Cora Rogers voted no. Chief Cowart explained to the board members that when Betty was working full time, she was collecting $85,000/year but as a part time clerk, she's collecting less than half. Just moments before this agenda item, the board was willing to give hundreds of thousands to a collection agency but refuse to allow Betty to work full time. Prior to the vote, Alderman Tommy Dukes leaned over and said to the Mayor, "ain't she's suing us, why would we let her work full time?" The agenda item to hire Tiffany McClure as a part-time certified officer failec for the lack of a second. Terrold Martin was approved to go from a part-time officer to an auxiliary officer. The board went into executive session but no action was taken. Mayor Winston wanted to amend the agenda to accept the only bid for the Lumberton Hospital (land and building). Mr. Jack Delk, the self-proclaimed owner of assisted living facilities across the state, who was told by the clerk that they would personally notify him when the property is advertised in the paper, made a grand bid of $500. People pay more than that in property taxes but the City of Lumberton was about to give this prime spot away for $500. It seems that Jay McGraw not the only thief on the board. Crider and Dukes were in favor of donating the property for $500 while Rogers and Rogers were against. True to form. Winston refused to break the tie. I will monitor the paper to see when the bidding process opens again. The meeting was adjourned after citizen comments.