Council Updates - September 2020
As most of you know, the city of Bay St. Louis had its council meeting on Tuesday night, and it was busy! Here’s the link to the webcast of the entire meeting if you’d like to view it.
First, Council President DeSalvo opened a sealed bid to rent the City Hall on Second Street.
- Bridges World Life Center Bid $100.00 per month with a three-year contract.
- Dunks Southern Kitchen offered $800 per month with a one-year lease. The council took the bids under advisement until later in the meeting to allow the city attorney time to review the bids and talk more during council business.
- Bean Construction $26,000.00
- Concrete Busters of Louisiana $94,900.00
- Morreale Construction $31,355.00
- Twin L Construction $95,000.00
The Council decided to take the bids under advisement for further review by the City Engineer and City Attorney.
Mayor Favre nominated Aline Milazzo Ward to the Hancock Port and Harbor Commission and submitted his nomination to the Council for ratification. I made the motion to accept the Mayor’s nomination and it passed 7-0. Ms. Ward comes with impeccable qualifications and will be a great asset to the Port & Harbor Commission.
The Mayor and Council’s nomination will be sent to Governor Tate Reeves for appointment to the Commission as a representative from Bay St. Louis.
Chris Taylor of Wright, Ward, Hatten, & Guel presented the annual audit to the City Council for review. Please allow me some time to go through this audit, and I will address it at a later date.
Chris Potter of the 6th Ward addressed the Council on drainage issues in Ward 6. Mr. Potter expressed strong concerns that Ward 6 drainage issues were not being adequately addressed. He stated over the last several weeks because of the weather in the Gulf that Ward 6 has had a good bit of flooding.
He understands that area will flood, but since the ditches are clogged with vegetation even when the water recedes elsewhere, it takes many hours or days for the water to exit the area. Mr. Potter was concerned because the bond only addresses road issues in Ward-6 and not drainage issues.
Mr. Potter asked for a timetable laying out when street repairs will start. His biggest concern was why repair roads if drainage issues aren’t also addressed. The Mayor stated that Public Works does have a project list, and he wanted to target drainage issues in-house. I will bring this up at the next meeting so the council can review this project list as soon as possible.
I asked about the status of the new tractor and ditch cleaning machine that is due to be delivered. The Mayor said it being built.
I addressed Mr. Potter about his issues. For the last couple of years, I have advocated for the purchase of a vacuum truck. I scheduled two separate demonstrations with the Public Works director and Utilities director. The capabilities of this type of equipment are essential to a growing city such as ours.
These trucks can blow out clogged culverts, pump out sewer lift stations, hydro excavate (dig holes using water and vacuum pressure) with precision so you don’t cut underground lines, and much more.
For example, a standard two-man crew could suck debris out ditches in a fraction of the time that it takes 6 men, a skid steer, track hoe, a dump truck, and a water blowing machine. I will continue to push for the purchase of a vacuum truck.
I would urge all residents in the city to call their councilmen and ask them to support the purchase of a vacuum truck. Councilman Reed also spoke of the benefits that a vacuum truck brings to the table. He asked, “Why work like the Flintstones when you can work like the Jetsons with better equipment?”
Historic Preservation Commission chairman Cliff Rabalais gave a report of a proposed development at 124 Court Street that will involve the demolition of Old Sea Coast Echo Building so that a Florida style condominium could be built. We should see this coming soon to Planning & Zoning.
I would suggest that if you are interested, review the consent agenda items online - you can access them here in the meeting's web portal.
Jason Chiniche present a bid from BLD Services, LLC to repair the CIPP gravity sewer main lining in the 400 block of Main Street in the amount of $47,656.00. This passed 7-0 with the request that work does not begin until after Cruisin the Coast & MOPAR in the Bay.
The engineer’s report highlights:
- Elaine Drive drainage (Ward 6): A larger drain inlet and over-flow pipe is recommended.
- 125 Carroll Ave: Additional cleaning and ditch bank stabilization is recommended.
- Ward-6 Boat Launch: Design and permitting phase underway again.
- Subdivision and other ordinance updates were presented too numerous to list. You are encouraged to read them online here, in the meeting's web portal.
City docket of claims was approved in the amount of $964,091.74.
A motion was made to approve the agreement between The City of Bay St. Louis and James J. Chiniche PA, Inc. for the 2020 city-wide paving and road resurfacing project. The motion passed 7-0.
The Council approved Ordinance #648-09-2020, an ordinance of the Mayor and City Council adopting the salary schedule, establishing salary compensation for officers, employees and open positions of the city.
The council approved increasing the bond amount not to exceed $6.5 million. This is needed to provide additional funds for building maintenance and additional funds if necessary to complete the public safety complex.
Councilman Reed spoke on three major issues.
- Mr. Reed ask for the council’s approval to move forward with the proposed splash pad at MLK Park. Mr. Reed has been hard at work finding donors to either provide funding or labor and materials to further the renovation of this park. We are working out the details with the city to properly handle the funds being donated. I made the motion and Councilman Zimmerman seconded. The motion passed 6-1, with Larry Smith (Ward 4) opposing.
- The council passed a motion to go out for RFQ (Request for Qualifications) to select an architect to finalize the Depot revitalization plan that was presented to the council and approved several weeks prior by the Depot committee. This is part of the 1.5 million MDA Grant award.
- Last, the council wants to proceed with the Southern Rail Commission Grant to make improvements to the Depot platform so we will be ready to receive passengers when Amtrak begins service in 2022.
There are so many good things happening in Bay St. Louis, and in the next year you should see many projects being completed, like Pier Five and the day pier extension. The old police station will be demolished soon and other projects are coming.
As always, thank you!