Sardis aldermen Hear from Upset citizens

Published 4:28 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2019

By Myra Bean

The Sardis Mayor and Board of Aldermen met in an hour-and-a half session in the first meeting of the new year Monday.

The board took care of some old business from last year and heard from citizens about the lack of police presence and lighting in some areas.

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One of the first orders of business was to approve the variance for the New Beginnings Church of God at 111 West Lee St. The city owns the area where there are some parking spaces behind the cyclone fence. The church is asking to use about six parking spots.

• Citizens in the Myrtle, South Main and Franklin Street areas told the board the pole  and security lights in those areas do not work. It is very dark and people are using it as a hang out area. The people reported there is no police presence like there used to be.

Police Chief Steven McLarty told the citizens that one member is deployed, one is going through a refresher course right now and one will be going to the academy in the spring. When they return from the academy and deployment in May, McLarty said he will be able to have two people on night shift.

The police department includes the chief, seven officers of which two are part-time and one open position until the deployed officer returns.

Rebecca Van Oostendorp suggested they start up Neighborhood Watch program and that the city work with the school district on the old Sardis High School which is in bad shape. She said people hang out there.

She said the first thing that should be done with tourism dollars is create safe communities.

•Ira and Doris Leverson, 518 West Pearl, Sardis rental home was discussed. The home at West Pearl burned down and they are repairing it. He paid a bill of $235.60 for water, gas and sewer. He received a water adjustment of $45. No one is living in the home now and he asked for an adjustment for the garbage part of the bill.

He was told by City Clerk Jeanne Goforth that when a person applies for water they get a trash can as a package deal and there are no adjustments for garbage in the city policy.

Doris brought up the point that more rental housing and apartments are needed in Sardis. She gets call every day from someone wanting to rent and they only have a limited amount of houses available. She also mentioned Sardis needed more things for kids to do.

It was questioned that the arrest log was not included in the claims docket and Mayor Lula Palmer said the clerk had been out sick for a while and just returned to work Tuesday. The amount is $465.50 for November.

There was a question on the street utilities amount. Last month it was $4,500 and this month $4,048.50. Goforth will call Entergy to question why the price fluctuates each month, she said.

•Panola Partnership executive director Joe Azar spoke to the board about annexing the industrial park into the city, which the Partnership at first was against. Tourism director Greg Davis told him all the points he brought up were being addressed including the tax incentive, an exchange at Belmont Road, and dropping of the fire ratings for existing industries.

After those concerns were addressed, Azar pledged his support to see the annexation become a reality. The board agreed to the contract with Bridge and Watson to draw up the annexation study.

• The solid waste bill from Panola County for the Town of Sardis was researched and they were billed corrected. They were paying the county for 730 cans per month but were billing 752 cans per month. Panola County issued a retroactive bill at $21,290 from the beginning of 2018.

During the discussion, maintenance manager Quinn West said they are having trouble getting the county to replace cans that are broken. Right now they are waiting on 50 tops. Citizens who need replacement cans may call City Hall at 487-2371.

The payment required a budget amendment. Also in the amendment was $189 for some body microphones for the police department for a total of $23,189. The original body mic budget was $5,000. The amendment passed 3-2 with Aldermen Michael Price and Clarence Jones opposing.

•In the Mayor’s report, the church on Racksh Patel’s Lake Inn property at 608 East Lee Street was given a Feb. 15 date to get all renovations done.

Lindal Furniture downtown Sardis was given until Feb. 15 to get its repairs done at 113 and 115 South Main St.

Renovations were to get started on the police building Jan. 1 for Polynesia for Youth Build but the Mayor has not heard from them. She does not know if they were approved. In the building is the tornado siren equipment that needs to be moved, according to Fire Chief Mitchell Daugherty.

One privilege license was issued in December to First Pharmacy which is located in the Fred’s shopping center.

Palmer announced Sardis did not receive the small municipal and limited population grant to fix the fence, sign and clean up at the ball field on Highway 51 North.

The $600,000 safe route to school grant was approved for sidewalks on Highway 51.

Palmer also said she wants the city to create a Facebook page.

The board dismissed for executive session dealing with a personnel issue. According to board attorney Tommy Shuler, the board made a motion to not include a Jan. 3 letter from Mayor Palmer in Chief McLarty’s personnel file and it passed.