BCC Figures

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 2010

City hears better figures from BCC

By John Howell Sr.

Batesville Civic Center Director Roy Hyde told city that the civic center had been booked for 133 rental days during the 2010 fiscal year which ended September 30.

The center use was “up 43 percent over the last three years, and our O and M (operating and management) expenses are down 12.7 percent below what we were operating at three years ago,” Hyde said.

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“We are spending almost $70,000 less annually than three years ago,” he added.

Hyde’s report came during the November 2 meeting where city officials continued to develop a standard policy for reduced-fee use of the Batesville Civic Center by non-profit organizations.

Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell reviewed a proposed with Hyde, the mayor and aldermen. Increasing requests for free or reduced-price use of the facility prompted the policy review.

The policy will likely include:

 •A total limit of ten reduced-price use days annually;

•Rent reductions for only the first day for non-profits seeking multi-day uses;

•Two rent-free uses for functions of South Panola High School;

•Other contract requirements, including security, must be performed by non-profits which receive reduced-rent use of the facility.

Let’s Talk It Out founder Billy Brown made the most recent request for reduced price use of BCC for his organization. Brown plans a youth summit next June, he told the city officials.

“We’re working on a policy as we speak today to try to get something we think is fair for everybody,” Alderman Stan Harrison said to Brown.

The November 2 meeting also brought a report from from Waste Water Plant Superintendent David Karr that a minor spill the previous weekend was triggered by a pump failure in a lift station.

“We worked down there Saturday night and Sunday night,” … luckily we bought that pump,” Karr said, referring to a portable pump purchased the year before. The pump allowed the facility to continue operation and minimize spillage, he said.

In other business, Gas Department Superintendent William Wilson presented cost estimates for extending city gas lines to serve new homes under construction in the Lakewood Villages area.

“The home on lot 54 has been completed, they’re just waiting on us,” said Wilson, who told the city officials that extending the lines would take about a week.

After a public hearing during the November 2 meeting, aldermen approved a planning commission recommendation to allow rezoning the property at 131 Van Voris Street, designating the site as commercial instead of industrial.

Owner Marilyn Taylor and buyer Anthony Rogers were both present for the hearing. The site once housed Taylor Lumber Company. Rogers said that he plans to renovate the property to house a ministry.

City Code Administrator Pam Comer reported that three properties scheduled for cleanup hearings had been taken care of prior to the board meeting.

Comer also presented a cleanup bill of $55 for city work on a vacant lot at 206 Miller Street. The property has been purchased in a tax sale.

“You can charge a penalty of $1,500,” Comer said.

“I think we need to,” Mayor Jerry Autrey said.

“Now you can get your money back at the tax sale,” Mitchell said.