City of Eupora, industry enter into option agreement

By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times

The city and an unnamed industry have entered into an option
agreement, according to records of an unannounced closed-session
meeting of the Eupora Board of Aldermen.

The action came after aldermen met in executive session during a
special called meeting at 10 a.m. March 8. Upon exiting the closed
session, the board voted 5-0 to “adopt the option agreement as
presented and city attorney (Hugh) Gibson to hold such agreement
until exercised,” the minutes state.

Dan Burchfield (at large) made the motion to do so and Hank Flowers
(Ward 4) seconded with all aldermen voting aye. No other details were
recorded in the minutes and aldermen adjourned after approving the
motion.

“There is a company looking at the possibility of coming to the
community and we won’t know for a while if they will,” Burchfield
said earlier this week.

Minutes of the special called meeting became public record when
aldermen approved them April 1; the city did not notify the Progress
Times beforehand that the meeting had been scheduled, as it usually
has with other meetings. The agenda obtained afterwards shows that
Lott called the meeting at 2 p.m. March 7 for the matter of
“industrial development.”

The minutes indicate that after Lott called the March 8 meeting to
order in open session, Billy Brister offered a motion to consider
executive session with Vickey Patterson (Ward 1) seconding. All
aldermen voted aye. Burchfield then offered a motion to go into
executive session with Brister seconding and all aldermen voting aye.

Although neither motion as recorded in the minutes explicitly
specified the reasons for considering and going into executive
session, the words “Industrial Development” do precede the motions
and remainder of the minutes.

As noted in the Mississippi Open Meetings Act, the reason for
executive session must be stated in open meeting and recorded in the
minutes. Brister and Burchfield, when asked later, did confirm that
the intended reason for their respective motions was to discuss
industrial development.

A public body may go into executive session to discuss prospective
purchase, sale or leasing of lands; or to discuss location,
relocation or expansion of business or industry.