Short meeting at City Hall

Published 4:46 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019

By Jeremy Weldon

In a board meeting marked by an unusual display of brevity, the Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen conducted city business for the month of September in just 26 minutes Tuesday at City Hall.

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The meeting was short, but was long enough for aldermen to approve nearly $600,000 of pay requests from City Clerk Susan Berryhill.

The regular claims docket was $387,948. The other $209,000 approved was for the first of three annual payments for new radios and dispatch equipment purchased last year for the police and fire departments.

Police Chief Jimmy McCloud asked aldermen for permission to allow officers to work off-duty at First Baptist Church during the upcoming Upward basketball season. The church needs officers for traffic control and general police presence during the Friday night  and Saturday games.

Approvals for travel to a variety of training and continuing education courses were given for eight city employees. Policemen, firemen, clerical workers, and others will attend upcoming courses sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, the  Mississippi Fire Academy, and the Miss. Public Works Association.

Some of the courses are one-day events and some require hotel stays for several days.

Code Enforcement Administrator Andy Berryhill updated the board on progress of several cleanup projects underway in the city, and on responses (or lack thereof) from property owners contacted about the condition of their land or structures.

Aldermen approved the assessment of cleaning costs for 201 Fisher St. to the owner’s tax roll. That property had drawn multiple complaints from neighbors and was a danger to residents in the area, Berryhill said.

City Clerk Berryhill informed aldermen she would transfer up to $1 million from the Gas Savings CD to the General Fund for normal accounts payable obligations.

Aldermen voted to remove the stop sign from the corner of East and Allen Streets because a recently-installed speed bump has slowed traffic sufficiently in the area. The board discussed installing a speed bump on Country Club Road, but Alderman Stan Harrison asked other members to wait on that action until he could speak with residents first.

C-Spire asked for permission to execute an underground  bore of approximately 150 feet at the Econo Lodge property at 221 Lakewood Dr. Aldermen voted unanimously to approve the  request.

Elizabeth Clark informed the board there has been no written protests filed by any citizen of Batesville in response to the advertised plan to issue bonds in two releases – up to $8 million each for General Obligation and Water/Sewer Improvements.

In a final bit of board action, aldermen approved the request of Mattie Spears to use the Downtown Square, including the Gazebo, for a birthday party in honor of her mother, Effie Spears, who will soon celebrate her 103rd.

Spears’ birthday is Sept. 13, and the party will be Sept. 14 on the Square.