Civic Center Update

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Aldermen finalize non-profits policy for civic center

By John Howell Sr.

Non-profit organizations will have opportunity to use the Batesville Civic Center at a reduced rate on eight days during 2011 under a new policy adopted by the mayor and aldermen.

Aldermen unanimously approved the policy which has been under development since September in response to increased requests from non-profits to use the Civic Center for free or at a reduced rate. The policy allows ten days, but two days are reserved for free use by the South School District — one for its graduation exercises and another for drill competition hosted by South Panola’s Air Force JROTC unit.

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After short discussion, the policy was adopted unanimously.

All Batesville aldermen — Ted Stewart, Bill Dugger, Eddie Nabors, Stan Harrison and Teddy Morrow — attended the November 16 meeting as did Mayor Jerry Autrey.

Civic Center Director Roy Hyde worked with aldermen and assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell to finalize the policy.

Hyde said that applications for the reduced-rate use would be accepted at the Civic Center on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Paperwork has to be complete at the time of the application,” Nabors said.

The application is obtained at the Civic Center and then turned in to City Clerk Laura Herron when complete, Hyde said.

South Panola High School has scheduled its graduation exercises at the Civic Center for May 14, the same weekend as Batesville’s Springfest. DeShea Townsend has agreed to move his annual car show to the following weekend to permit the graduation schedule, Hyde said.

The November meeting ranged through a variety of municipal concerns.

•Certified Public Accountant Jennifer Heafner of Will Polk and Associates spoke briefly about the firm’s auditing services for the city. She was accompanied to the meeting by CPA Bill Crawford who has served for years as the Polk firm’s point man for municipal auditing services.

•City Code Administrator Pam Comer requested cleanup hearings for property at 18 Dell Street and at the old Batesville Compress site at Highway 35. Comer also reported complaints about litter on the sidewalk in front of the Tavern on the Square.

•Nabors asked fellow aldermen to consider changes needed in the city’s ordinance that describes enclosures required for dogs.

Nabors said the ordinance requires a “suitable enclosure.”

“We may need to be considering what a suitable enclosure is,” Nabors said. He said that the owner of a pit bull claims that an electronic fence buried in the ground is suitable. The dog is fitted with a collar that administers a shock if it gets near the buried wire.

“There’s kids next door to the dog,” Nabors said, “… if you have a dog that is potentially harmful, and the best you can do is rely on an electronic fence to keep him in, that still doesn’t keep some child from wandering, and there’s nothing to keep the child from crossing … .”

•Aldermen granted Charlie Dulany’s request to be allowed $500 for materials to decorate the upper pavilion on the Square for Christmas.

“We used to decorate it every year, at the city’s request,” Dulany said.

He also asked for a city worker to help with the decorating and would donate the design services, he said.

Dulany and aldermen discussed various options, including the purchase of decorations that can be used again in conjunction with fresh evergreens. Dulany was unfazed and may not have noticed that during his presentation, a lady walked in to the back door of the board’s meeting room, having arrived a week early at the location which doubles as a precinct polling place on election day.

“Where do I vote?” she asked as she looked at the mayor and aldermen seated around their meeting table.