By Jeremy Weldon
In its regular meeting Tuesday, Batesville’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen heard from Shaniya Moore, who asked board members to allow her to organize and hold a Prayer Walk from Patton Lane to the Square gazebo for Saturday, July 28. The young lady told the board she is concerned about her city. “I’m asking the Lord to look into the hearts of all the people of Batesville,” she said.
Aldermen were supportive of the walk, telling Moore final approval will be given when calendars are checked for conflicting events. Police chief Jimmy McCloud said his department would provide traffic control and take part in the Prayer Walk.
After Moore’s presentation, the board heard from Terry Jones, who asked for permission to play music at the gazebo on the Square. Jones, who is almost blind, and is a familiar site pushing a walker around town, told council members his only income is a Social Security check and he would like to be able to play for tips and sell some recordings he has made.
Jones said he plans to perform his own material. “I played Merle Haggard’s songs for 30 years and he never sent me a dime,” Jones said, prompting laughter around the board room in an otherwise routine meeting.
Aldermen told Jones they will review his request and have someone from City Hall contact him when a decision has been issued.
In other business, the City Board:
• Gave approval for Bradie Bailey and Pam Comer, Code Enforcement Office administrator, to attend a meeting with the Hernando Code Office to review software used there.
• Approved travel for Sean Copeland and Jonathan Burk to attend Basic Firefighter course at the state fire academy Aug. 6 – Sept. 27.
• Approved travel for Cody Edwards and Matthew Hubbard to attend the fire apparatus driver/operator course at the state fire academy Aug. 13-23.
• Gave approval for Jason Sanders, Grant Thornton, and Joshua Wedgeworth to attend the trench rescue class at the state fire academy Aug. 27-30.
• Heard from First Regional Library director Meredith Wickham, who gave a short presentation asking for an increase of about five percent in city funding for the upcoming budget year. Wickham thanked the board for years of increasing support, and updated aldermen on plans for the coming months.
The board took the matter under advisement and will consider it along with a plethora of other requests when they begin the budget making process.
• Accepted the recommendation of the Planning Commission to approve conditional use permits for Gil Jolley to sell shrimp and other seafood from a trailer at Panola Plaza, and for Chris Carvan to operate his food trailer at Tractor Supply.
• On the recommendation of the Planning Commission, the board approved six-month permits. Pam Comer told the board her office and others are continuing their work to find a suitable location where part-time and seasonal vendors can be allowed to operate instead of sellers have set-ups at various places around the city.
Until then, only six-month permits are being issued.
• Gave approval for Miley Davidson to continue operating Upward Bound Outreach at 115 Wood St., on a conditional use permit.
• Instructed acting city attorney Colmon Mitchell to draw up an ordinance officially setting hours of operation and parking policies for the Indian Mounds walking trails. Parks and Recreation director Heath Fullilove told the board he has locked the gate at the Mounds at sunset regularly, but has had two instances recently of vehicle owners returning for their cars after the gate was locked.
Fullilove said the cars were left there all day, probably by people carpooling with friends to work, and did not belong to people using the trails. Aldermen agreed the Mounds area shouldn’t be used as a parking lot, and said an ordinance with signs should end the problem.
• Gave approval for the cleaning of the property at 215 College St. by the city. The Code Enforcement Office has given all necessary warnings and the property has been adjudicated in previous meetings.
• Were advised by City Clerk Susan Berryhill that a letter of engagement has been received by the firm of Bridges, Goodman, and Aldridge for future budget preparation services.
• Approved the transfer of Benji Caine from the sanitation department to the police department.
• Accepted the resignation of John Garrett Pollan as a full-time fireman, and the resignation of Roy Lee Cole.