Magee board deals with beer sales, PD issuesBy PAT BROWN,
A special called Board of Aldermen’s meeting was held January 30 to approve beer sales at The Vault restaurant, which planned to open in downtown Magee on Superbowl Sunday.
The board approved the action, without which the opening might have been delayed until after the next scheduled meeting of the board.
The called meeting, which was orignally billed as a workshop for the city to address and define food trucks and for aldermen to review their goals for the city, ended up being a little more than they had planned.
Defining what will be considered a food truck and recommending zones for their use was referred to the Zoning Committee to make recommendations to be presented at a future meeting of the board. Issues surfaced such as what qualifies as cooked foods and as grilled foods. Board members considered exempting items like peanuts and pig skins from the special rules, but then they had to consider where they could actually draw the line.
The Zoning Board was to meet on Monday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m. to further discuss food trucks.
Aldermen then addressed issues they had discussed with their constituents, such as the need to improve paving for some city streets. They also discussed notification of garbage pickup during holidays. Alderman Whitney Baker said she would see that the change information was posted on line.
The board discussed property maintenance as well as the city maintaining drainage ditches and culverts leading to property in the city.
Several aldermen noted the prevalence of speeders in town and the need for additional traffic enforcement. Alderman Lane Steele brought up the problem of excessively loud radios in residential neighborhoods.
Mayor Dale Berry said that he “chewed” the police chief about his officers not doing their jobs, citing no narcotics or DUI arrests in court. Berry stated that the police are through presenting cases by 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, which are court days, whereas the cases presented used to take most of the day.
This led to a conversation about Magee getting what Berry called “sorry” inmate workers from the satellite prison. This is when Magee built the prison, according to Berry. The board decided they would buy lunches for the prisoners as a means of encouragement.
Alderman Patrick Brown said it had cost the city as much as $18,000 in the past to feed inmates but said that employees were eating the meals also. The board agreed to a trial period to see if buying lunches would help. They authorized the mayor to get lunches for up to eight inmates. Board attorney Bruce Smith said this did not require board action as the action was within the mayor’s purview. The board discussed purchasing the meals from Zip’s Restaurant.
Mayor Berry drew the board’s attention to the fact that Trustmark Bank handles many of the banking accounts for the city. PriorityOne handles five accounts, according to documents the mayor passed out to the board. This newspaper asked if bids were required to open other accounts. Attorney Bruce Smith said that was not the case.
Mayor Berry said water issues have been reported at Polk’s Meat since the opening of the Love’s Truck Stop and the new Magee Elementary School, all in the same area. Berry said the city had an engineer check the problem and he concluded that the city was not the source of water pressure problems at Polk’s. The company had also expressed concern that their source of water for the meat processing plant had changed and the lack of manganese in the new tank had impacted the yield ratio. Berry reported that he had discussed the water issue with a similar business in Florence and said that the water should have no impact on product yield.
The mayor reported that the city had $200,000 for paving, $90K of which had been planned for resurfacing downtown streets. Another $80K was to go towards roads for the new elementary school area and $25K for a subdivision to be created by Alderman Patrick Brown.
Berry told the board that a lot of work needs to be done downtown and that the decision to repave downtown should wait until after repairs were done, and that the funds would be spent elsewhere.
Berry reported that residential developer Chris Lane wants the city to pave the streets where he has built houses in Cypress Point Estates subdivision and that he will pave the remainder of the subdivision.
It was reported that Magee would become the sponsor for the Keep Magee Beautiful program on February 1.