Memphis Stone

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aldermen hit reset button on Memphis Stone plans

By John Howell Sr.
Batesville aldermen voted unanimously January 17 to dismiss a variance request to allow gravel mining within city limits.

Memphis Stone and Gravel first requested the variance to allow the extract gravel within city limits adjacent to its existing mining operations near Highway 35 South in 2008. Aldermen approved the request but owners of adjacent property appealed to circuit court, triggering a legal battle that eventually wound its way to the State Supreme Court. Late last year the Supreme Court sent the variance decision back to the city for another hearing.

Aldermen initially set another variance hearing for January 3 but tabled it at the request of Memphis Stone and Gravel. At last week’s meeting, aldermen voted to dismiss the variance without prejudice.

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“Which means if they decide tomorrow, they can refile it,” assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell said.

In other business:

•   Aldermen took under advisement a request by Parker Hannifin Corporation for a credit of $18,905 on future water bills. Plant engineer Brian Rosenberger stated the request in a letter to Mayor Jerry Autrey, citing a December 27 interruption in water service to the plant on Highway 6 East that damaged a water-cooled generator. Rosenburger stated that although the plant was closed a generator was kept online for emergencies.

“As a precautionary measure, I called the water department to verify that our water utilities were not going to be disrupted even though work was being performed on the water tower on the west side of the plant,” Rosenberger stated. “I was told there would be no disruption in service.”

Rosenberger’s letter stated that a 45-minute interruption in water service did occur, damaging equipment that resulted in an $18,905 repair;

•   Blue Cross/Blue Shield representative Brad Camp told the mayor and aldermen that city employees have not utilized a free medical exam provided by the insurance carrier.

The city purchases its medical insurance from the company. Only 34 percent of covered employees took advantage of the free physicals.

“We need to have that up there at about 75 to 80 percent,” Camp said. “The early detection is going to stop some of your claims.”

Camp and city officials briefly discussed incentives and penalties to increase participation before tabling further consideration until next month. It was placed on the agenda for the Feb. 7 meeting.

•   Aldermen agreed to a request from the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Mississippi to release the $25,000 budgeted by the city this year for the organization’s operation.

Director Belinda Morris made the request. Morris also requested the city to initiate with the state legislature the local and private bill that allows use of the city-owned facility at Highway 51 and Eureka for the club’s operation. The legislation that presently allows its use expires at the end of this year, she said. Aldermen passed by requests unanimously;

•   The city officials also agreed to provide up to $7,875 in city funds to help underwrite a tournament bid by the J. P. Hudson Memorial Park Association.

Park spokesman Thad Campbell said the tournament could bring over 11,000 competitors and spectators to the city.