A Juneteenth Celebration was approved by the City of Magee at the May 3 meeting of the Magee Board of Aldermen. The city’s okay came at the request of Malinda Green and Terrence Logan.
The event celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in America at the end of the Civil War. Emancipation was first celebrated in Galveston, Texas, in 1866 after federal troops arrived there in 1865 to ensure that all enslaved people were freed and had their rights restored to them.
Last week President Biden signed a bill making June 19 an official national holiday recognizing the occasion.
The Magee celebration will be hosted on Saturday, June 18, on private property adjacent to the National Guard Armory just off Highway 49.
The board agreed to waive fees for food trucks and vendor licenses for the event. Logan said this would be a “Pop-up Event” and would feature Southern Soul Blues Singers. Mayor Dale Berry asked about security, and Logan told the board he uses the Magee Police Department to provide security for events he organizes.
Mayor Berry reported that the Magee Chamber of Commerce would also sponsor a Mingle on Main event Thursday, June 2, on Main Avenue. The board approved this request also.
Under the topic of airport matters, the board discussed whether some of the previously assigned responsibilities at the Magee Airport should be privatized and no longer be the responsibility of the airport manager. Apparently, the airport has failed to comply with some Federal Aviation Administration requirements that the board was not aware of. Mayor Berry noted that the FAA said that ignorance of the standards was not a reason for an exception to requirements.
Alderman Mark Grubbs suggested that further discussion of airport matters required an executive session.
The board heard from Phillip Magee, who handles building inspection matters for the city. He suggested that the board consider changing permitting fees for contractors doing business in the city. Permits are currently $35 and $55 based on scope of work. Magee suggested having a flat $50 fee for projects. He then suggested that if a contractor was state approved the fee be reduced to half. He said this would encourage everyone to be tested and licensed and the result would be a better quality of work. The board approved the request.
In a discussion of Code Enforcement, Shane Steele reported no new issues but said that a hearing on property issues is set for the next scheduled board meeting.
At the request of Allen Martin, Interim Police Chief, the board approved sending Officer Josh Bryant to dog training school in Flowood at a cost of $125. The board approved the request. Additionally, Martin requested annual active shooter training for the department from Clay McPherson, in the amount of $300 for 12 hours of training. This meets annual training standards, according to Martin. The board approved the request.
Fire Marshal Charlie Valadie recommended that the board accept a bid to assist in the set up of a radio tower that had been donated to the Fire Department by Southern Pine. The fee was just under $50,000 to get the tower so this amount did not require the typical bid process, according to Mayor Berry.
The tower is to be erected in the former Magee Industrial Park adjacent to the city pump house, which is one of the highest locations in the county.
Valadie told the board this would help with the Miss Wind radio operations for the Magee Police Department. The police department would realize a monthly savings of $360 from not having to locate their communication equipment on someone else’s tower.