The Laurel City Council approved resolutions applying for two separate grants and approved some budget amendments during its most recent meeting.
Ward 6 Councilman Travares Comegys motioned and Ward 2 Councilman Tony Wheat seconded that the council adopt a resolution authorizing Mayor Johnny Magee, acting on behalf of the city of Laurel, to execute a memorandum of understanding with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for a grant under the department’s Certified Local Government Grant Program.
With a unanimous vote of 7-0, the council approved several budget amendments to the 2018-2019 city budget. Upon the recommendation of the city administration, the council approved the amendments.
The amendments included increasing the city’s insurance-property category by $40,000 – bringing the amount budgeted for this item to $132,000. The police department overtime-special events category was increased by $10,172.04, which increased the amount funded for this category to $40,363.04. The amendment also included a $9,000 donation from Jones County in the street improvements-construction fund.
Councilman Tony Wheat asked why the $40,000 increase was needed in the insurance category. City Clerk Mary Ann Hess said the increase in insurance property was due to the increase in the number of new vehicles recently purchased by the city.
In other business, the city council also adopted an order authorizing the Laurel Police Department to apply for a bullet proof vest grant. The council order commits local matching funds and authorizes the execution of documents necessary for acceptance of funds and implementation of project if the grant is awarded. According to city documents, the 2019 Bullet Proof Vest Partnership Grant would be for $13,850. Through the grant the police department hopes to get 10 bulletproof vests, 10 concealable carriers and 10 trauma plates for the patrol division. Officials said the new items, if approved, would be used to replace older vests which are approaching expiration of their life expectancy.
In separate matters, the council also adopted the second readings of ordinances relating to property within the city of Laurel. One ordinance approved the abandoning of an alley in Edgewood Addition Block G, which runs between North Third and North 4th Avenues in the block bordered by West 15th and West 16th Streets.
The other ordinance approved changed the zoning of property owned by Lowell and Jeannine Howell, which is located at 1704 West 12th Street. According to city documents, the property, which was zoned Residential 3 High Density Restricted Residential District, was changed to Commercial 3 Heavy Commercial District.
No one spoke during the citizen forum portion of the meeting. However,, the council had five scheduled public hearings on properties in the city to determine whether or not the properties are in such a state of uncleanliness so as to be a menace to the public health and safety of the community.
Three hearings were held for property at 315 North 18th Avenue, belonging to Teresa Dalrymple in Ward One; property at 2427 North 1st Avenue, which belongs to Restoration Life Church in Ward Four; and 1911 North First Avenue, which belongs to Bernard Magee in Ward Four.
In other business, the council set July 2 as the public hearing date for 19 pieces of properties in the city to determine “overgrown property status.” The properties include: The Herring Group LLC at 16 Pinecrest Place in Ward One; Alliance Energy Industries LLC at 1608 Highway 84 West in Ward One; Linda Carter at Lot W of 1508 Woodlawn Drive in Ward One; Oak Field at Lot E of 1219 Simmons Street in Ward Seven; Ivory Williams at Lot off of Palmer Avenue in Ward Seven; Angelio Hughes at a lot off of Queensburg Avenue in Ward Seven; Willie McKinney Jr. at 4018 Martin Avenue in Ward Three; Fifth Avenue Baptist Church at 2105 North Second Avenue in Ward Four; James Cooley at 128 West 23rd Street in Ward Four; Felessia Jordan at 127 West 23rd Street in Ward Four; Lama Mouazen at 712 North 1st Avenue in Ward Five; Dinky Jones Properties LLC, a lot on Chantilly in Ward Five; Glen Bolden at 614 Mississippi Avenue; Tibbie Creek at a lot on East Oak Street in Ward Five; Brenda Marcombe at lot on East Oak Street in Ward Five; Herbert Merrill Jr. at a lot on East 7th Street/Herbert Avenue in Ward Five; Prisock Properties, Inc. at 911 North Joe Wheeler Avenue in Ward 5; Chalmas Donald at 831 South 6th Avenue in Ward Six; and Tree C Farms at a lot on Sandy T. Gavin in Ward Six.
The council also approved the claims docket and adopted a resolution to approve semi-annual bids to become effective July 1 to December 31.