By Jeremy Weldon
The Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen met routinely Tuesday, receiving bids for architectural and appraisal services, approving various expenditures, and handling regular city business.
Aldermen also heard, again, from Arizona St. homeowner Christina Pride about her neighbor’s overgrown lot on Panola Ave. Pride has been before the board several times complaining about the backyard of the house in front of hers.
She said the trees and underbrush has been neglected and the view from her front porch is unsightly, and is also attracting undesirable activity. Aldermen have in the past been reluctant to take action because the overgrowth is in a backyard and not visible from Panola Ave.
Pride argued that her property’s value is decreased because of the overgrowth, and that neighborhood children and others hide dangerous and criminal activity among the bushes and grass.
Aldermen agreed to have the Code Enforcement Office write the Panola Ave. homeowner another letter, advising that the city will begin procedures to adjudicate and clean the property if the overgrown area is not cleared soon.
The board also heard from Len Strozier of Omega Mapping Service who proposed to use his sonar radar equipment to map all the underground pipes, lines, and wires that make up the city’s underground infrastructure.
Stozier said current city maps are good ones, but his service can add to those maps to indicate exactly what is under the ground and where forgotten lines and pipes are located.
Aldermen thanked Stozier for the presentation and asked him to return with a price for his proposed mapping services.
The board gave final approval to Whit Tidwell to sub-divide a large lot he owns on the corner of Pollard St. and Johnson Cir. Tidwell, who wants to build a house on the lot, had previously submitted his plans to the Code Enforcement Office, and administrator Pam Comer told aldermen his proposal meets all the criteria for setbacks and other considerations for new construction.
The board set public hearings for conditional use permits in the city limits for Gil Jolley to sell shrimp at the Panola Plaza parking lot, Miley Davison to operate the Upward Bound Upreach at 115 Wood St., and to Chris Carvan for a food trailer at the Tractor Supply parking lot.
The board issued a permit to Lisa Taylor, who plans to offer The Downtown Deli, a sandwich and coffee shop, at 129 Public Square. Taylor said she expects to open the deli in July.
Discussed the mowing of the grass at the cloverleaf intersection of I-55 and Hwy. 6 East. The Mississippi Department of Transportation mows such areas a few times each summer, but not often enough to keep the area neat and attractive,.
The city has paid Eric Avery $1,800 each for the last two cuts, and after mulling over different options, agreed to hire Avery to mow the area again. Council members considered having city employees mow with a city-owned tractor and cutting deck, but were told that all of the large slopes could not be cut with the tractors Batesville has.
Two new patrolmen were hired for the police department – Marley Newton and Adam Smith.
Applications for ad valorem tax exemption was granted to G.E. Aviation.
The board approved an order for sewer hook-ups for Phase II of the Hunter’s Trace Subdivision project. Homeowners may tap into the new sewer line with no additional fees until September.
Also approved was travel request for Detective Captain George Williford to attend the 2018 National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators in Raymond June 7.
The board approved travel requests for Patrol Captain Clyde Estridge, Williford, Detective Lt. Jeremiah Brown, and Lieutenants Ruby Myers, Gary Morris, Billy Sossaman, and Richard Stonestreet to attend the Law Enforcement Multigenerational Training in Oxford July 19.
Approved for travel was given for Josh Wedgeworth to attend the Fire Department Fire Instructor I-II class at the Mississippi Fire Academy July 9-19, and for Joseph Barlow to attend the same class July 23-Aug. 2.
The council members agreed to allow Greenwood Leflore Hospital to use the fire department’s fire safety trailer for their safety fair Oct. 13.
The board voted to pay a full docket of invoices, including $4,000 to Danny Barton for sod placed at the Indian Mounds, and $1,648 to Charleston Fence and Metal for a fence installed at the Indian Mounds.