Board handles Water Department issues

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

The Eupora Board of Aldermen dealt with Water Department personnel matters at meetings earlier this month.

The discussions were a follow-up to the board’s April 2 meeting, when Mayor Tommy Lott recommended the city hire or contract with Joel Johnson to read the Eupora and LaGrange water meters.

Johnson is currently an employee with the Street Department and, as proposed, would read the meters after his regular city hours on a contract basis. Lott said this would give Street Superintendent Will Gary, who has been reading the meters, more time to complete his Street Department head duties.

The board eventually voted to go into executive session because of the discussion of personnel issues. After coming back into open session 50 minutes later, aldermen tabled the item until the July 2 meeting. According to the minutes, Johnson will assist with the reading of the meters until that time as a means of learning their locations.

The May 7 meeting included “Water Department Trainee Program,” which Burchfield had placed on the agenda. The board again went into executive session on the basis of dealing with personnel issues. City Clerk Lesa Hardin and Water/Wastewater Director Benny Neal remained in the closed session, which lasted one hour and 15 minutes.

Back in open session, aldermen voted to raise the salary or offer incentive pay for any Water/Wastewater Department employees who complete water or wastewater training and obtain certification. The board tabled meter reader hiring.

During a special called meeting on May 17, aldermen voted to advertise for a full-time meter reader.

Other Business Carsonia Johnson of the Eupora Head Start Center distributed fliers to the mayor and aldermen on May 7 about the center’s active recruitment campaign for the 2012-13 school year.

She asked for their assistance as the center tries to recruit at least 40 new students (see Calendar of Events for details).

According to the presentation, the center can no longer service the Maben/Cumberland area, which has caused a shortage of students.

Also on May 7, the board voted to: • reaffirm its previous decision (of April 2) to submit its chosen redistricting plan to the Justice Department. No opposition was received at a public hearing nor any since then, and no alternative plans have been presented.

The Golden Triangle Planning and Development District is proceeding with the necessary filings with the Justice Department and other related work.

• adopt a resolution granting Plymouth Tube a 10-year ad valorem tax exemption for personal property additions/expansions in 2011 of about $950,000. The exemption is pending state Tax Commission approval and final approval by the city board.

• contract with Herbicides Plus of Jackson for a second helicopter aquatic treatment on Whites Creek Lake at an approximate total price of $2,185. This is to control lily pads.

• accept a stationary generator grant as presented, and authorize the clerk to obtain quotes on stationary and trailer-mounted generators per grant requirements or to advertise for bids is any quote is more than $50,000.

The board had voted April 2 to contract with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to accept a grant to buy a portable generator.

• allow the Street Department to erect “No Parking” signs on South Allen Street. Lott said residents have been complaining about people parking on both sides of the street and obstructing traffic.

On May 17, the board adopted a resolution to request that the state restore Small Municipal Program funding. “Small municipalities like Eupora really need that extra help,” Lott said.

Billy Brister (Ward 2) was out of town and unable to attend the May 7 meeting, as were Vickey Patterson (Ward 1) and Hank Flowers (Ward 4) on May 17.