City considers Garan property proposal

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

City leaders are considering a proposal from a local businessman who wants to buy part of the Garan property.

Larry White met with the Eupora Board of Aldermen on Sept. 4 in hopes of coming to terms on the possible acquisition of property in the city-owned lot. The Garan building has been torn down but work continues on breaking up the concrete foundation.

White told aldermen he is interested in buying about 2 acres in the north corner of the property fronting Highway 9 next to Government Street. White said he wants to erect a building there that he would lease to a physical therapy/rehabilitation company interested in coming to Eupora. He said he wanted to have enough room for possible expansion.

“I’m ready to make that investment to provide that space for them,” he said.

Board attorney Hugh Gibson said the city would have to go through the bidding process in selling any of the property. The 11-acre lot has already been surveyed but Gibson said any individuals sections considered for sale would need to be appraised for value.

Dan Burchfield (at large) noted that he had contacted the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State for advice from professional planners on the best use of the entire property. He also said covenants are needed “if we’re going to have a retail/commercial park.”

The aldermen said the only hesitation he had in guaranteeing White a lot was that it may be up to three years before one is available, based upon the possible lengthy planning process for use of the property.

Burchfield said representatives from the Stennis Institute planned to be here this week. He asked White to provide a plat/sketch of his minimum space requirements by the end of this week, which White agreed to do.

Levy Tax Lien At the request of Mayor Tommy Lott, the board voted last week to place a tax lien of $175 on the deed for the lot at 2378 W. Roane Ave. for mowing/cleaning it up, which he said had been done at no cost to the city.

The house at that location (the southeast corner of West Roane and South Allen) is unoccupied and the property is in foreclosure, according to a Substituted Trustee’s Notice of Sale published the past four weeks in this newspaper. Lott said a certified letter regarding the matter had been sent to the owners. Beau and Kimberly Johnson are named as the defaulters in the foreclosure notice.

Aldermen also voted in June for the Street Department to mow some overgrown lots in Westwood and place the costs as a tax lien on the deeds.

Other Business In other business Sept. 4, city aldermen voted to: • accept two final tax resolutions, approved by the Mississippi Department of Revenue, for a 10-year tax abatement of assets acquired by Ansell Hawkeye in 2011 and for exemption of the balance of 2006 assets as transferred from Hawkeye Glove Manufacturing to Ansell Hawkeye. The initial resolutions were adopted in June. • authorize the mayor to order a survey of the Whites Creek Lake dam property to establish city property lines and to use Calvert- Spradling Engineers based on its history with the area. A related motion was approved authorizing the board attorney to draw up easements for the express purpose of Rusty Bowen’s use of Gary Park Road in exchange for the city being granted permanent easement/ access to the emergency spillway area, and for both parties to be reasonably notified before use of such by either party. Bowen is to be responsible for any damage to Gary Park Road. • authorize the designation of up to $1,000 from the economic development budget item to be used in “upfront” expenses (such as postage and advertising) incurred for the Christmas Market. The funding is to be reimbursed by any profits from the market, which will be Dec. 1. The board also voted to change the Garan parking lot sales from that weekend to the following weekend. • apply for a Justice Assistance Grant of $3,000 for the Police Department; a local match of $1,000 is required. • approve a recommendation for Randy Dees to work 40 hours a week with the Street Department instead of 32 as was approved last month. • accept fiscal 2012 budget adjustments as recommended by City Clerk Lesa Hardin. Burchfield (at large) voted nay. • approve a HOME Grant resolution regarding the city’s application for a 2012 fiscal year Homeowner Rehabilitation/Reconstruction Grant, which must be submitted by Sept. 28. Housing Specialist Patsy Patterson of the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District conducted a HOME Grant initial public hearing on Aug. 27. Many interested homeowners were present, according to minutes of the hearing. Patterson explained that the state expects to receive about $8 million for the HOME Investment Partnership Program. • approved Johnson Janitorial’s bid to clean City Hall, the Community Center, the police station and the Depot for $60 a month. All other annual supply bids were approved Aug. 9 with the exception of the janitorial bids, which the clerk clarified.

Warning Against Passing Stopped School Buses During department head reports, Police Chief Gregg Hunter cautioned people not to pass a stopped school bus. He pointed out that the fine for this violation has increased to $350.

The Police Department’s monthly report for August shows that three people were charged last month with running a school bus sign.

Park Director John Prather reported that about 200 youths are participating in the three sports-related programs the city is now offering: flag football, tackle football and cheerleading. He said soccer practice will start soon.

Special Meeting The board had a special called meeting Aug. 13 to consider quotes for 6-inch water meters.

Minutes show that aldermen voted to purchase six meters from Empire of Birmingham, Ala., for $3,200 each, which was the lower of two quotes obtained. The meters will be used to monitor the various water systems more closely. The total purchase of $19,200 will be paid for through a change order to the current USDA grant/loan for Industrial Park water tank painting and SCADA radio equipment.

The board also authorized an amendment to the current contract with Dexter Fortson to install the meters so they will be compatible with the new SCADA communication system. The estimated cost is $7,900 and will also be paid through the USDA loan/grant.