When the Mendenhall Mayor and Board of Aldermen met recently for their first July session, it marked the first meeting of the new board following the general election.
The meeting was conducted by Mayor Pro Tempore and Alderman-at- Large Tim Gray. Mayor Todd Booth was physically absent from the meeting but attended via telephone.
A motion by Alderwoman Judy Lee to adopt a resolution to make Mendenhall a “Safe City” presented by the Personhood Alliance did not pass. The item was presented to the board during the regularly scheduled meeting in May, and was tabled to allow City Attorney Wesley Broadhead time to do more research. A representative from the Personhood Alliance, Zach Kyser, made the initial presentation.
In May Kyzer explained that by adopting the resolution the City of Mendenhall would be acknowledging that abortion is murder. He said that by adopting the Safe City Resolution the city would be agreeing to provide for the protection of human life and liberty. The City of Mendenhall would express desire that all human beings, from fertilization to natural death, both born and pre-born, be afforded protection from acts of cruelty, and be treated humanely and with dignity.
Kyzer urged the city to adopt the resolution and make sure it is enforced. He gave an example of the current seat belt laws being put in place to help prevent loss of life. Kyzer said abortions accounted for over 1,095,000 deaths last year and that laws should be put in place to prevent them from happening. Kyzer stated that marijuana is illegal, but several states have adopted their own laws making it legal. He insisted that states do the same concerning abortions.
Several of the board members agreed with Kyzer’s sentiments but questioned the legality of adopting such a document and what it would mean for the city. Kyzer said several other cities in Mississippi have already adopted the resolution. He acknowledged that the city may lose federal funding or experience other penalties down the road, but urged board members to do what is right and protect these babies.
After research into the legal ramifications that come along with adopting the resolution, Broadhead advised against adopting it. He stated that the city would be open to several lawsuits
Broadhead said, “Personally I agree with everything the petition stands for, but I don’t think the city should adopt this resolution.”
The motion carried a 1 to 3 vote with Judy Lee being the only vote in favor of passing the resolution.
Norman Miller with ASAP Ambulance shared first year stats with the board. He said ASAP assisted 5,065 patients in the first year and answered twice as many emergency calls opposed to non-emergency calls. He also announced that the service maintained a less than 15 minute response time and the yearly average response time was 14:43.
The board accepted a bid from Truckworx to purchase a new garbage truck for $95,000. The board approved the 2021 sales tax holiday for July 30 through July 31. General Election results were approved and personnel were appointed to various positions within the city.
The following appointments were approved by the board: Tim Gray as Mayor Pro Tempore, Wesley Broadhead as Board Attorney, Wesla Sullivan Leech as Municipal Judge, James Marc McMillian as Public Defender, Engineering Services as City Engineers, Brett Duncan of Charles Prince CPA as City Auditor, Marjorie Jeanie Gary as Chairman, and Earl Harrington and Dixie Everett as Election Commissioners.
The board also reauthorized all pending travel approved by the previous board and reapproved the current employee handbook.
Due to Mayor Todd Booth being absent from the meeting the board extended the contracts of the Chief of Police, City Superintendent, City Clerk, officers, city hall personnel, and public works personnel for 30 days until the mayor is able to make his recommendations.
The board entered executive session to discuss personnel before recessing the meeting.