Clarksdale will be under executive orders at least one more week as the Board of Mayor and Commissioners decided to mirror the state’s leadership and follow the Governor's guidelines.
“We are in the midst of the second wave of COVID-19 cases in Mississippi,” said Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy. “We have seen an uptick and I want to remind people roaming around, if you don’t have essential business to do, go home.”
Gov. Tate Reeves has eased state requirements for businesses and individuals over the past few weeks and city commissioners voted Tuesday to move Clarksdale in line with those policy and procedures.
Espy also urged the community to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hand regularly.
On a motion by Ward 1 Commissioner Bo Plunk and a second by Ward 2 Commissioner Ken Murphey, the city, in its traditional rotation of voting, agreed to extend its emergency declaration until Monday, June 1. The motion was supported by Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner and Ward 4 Commissioner Ed Seals.
Later, on a motion by Seals and a second by Plunk, the city voted to follow the Governor’s Executive Orders 1484, 1486, 1487 and 1488. That motion was supported by Ward 2 Alderman Ken Murphey and Ward 3 Alderman Willie Turner.
The following executive orders by the state were adopted.
Executive Order 1484: Extends Safer-At-Home until Monday, May 25, 2020. It also allows salons, barber shops and other personal care to open as well as fitness and exercise gyms, contingent upon following the Governors guidelines
Executive Order 1486: Allow restaurants to be open 24 hours per day, opens tattoo and body piercing parlors with restrictions and allows parks and outdoor recreational spaces to be accessible 24 hours per day.
Executive Order 1487: Opens school training and workout rooms with restrictions
Clarksdale still has a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and police are charged with enforcing that rule and other COVID-19 reduction requirements.
One of the federal requirements of President Donald Trump’s plan to reopen the economy is for state and local governments to prove they are addressing contagion concerns.
The City of Clarksdale mailed four masks to every house and post office box earlier this month. In a special called meeting the board voted to buy 26,400 masks at .98-cents each from a Tennessee company.
The city also gave out pint bottles of hand sanitizer in mid-April. The city bought two shipments of the aloe/alcohol hand sanitizer from Cathead Distillery in Jackson for $5,240 each. Approximately 1,100 bottles were handed out to residents.
In other business:
• On a motion by Turner and a seconded by Seals the city adopted a resolution that declares June 5th as “National Gun Violence Awareness Day.” Residents will be urged to wear orange that day.
• The city approved a new ordinance establishing the official meeting place and alternate meeting place for the regular meetings of the Board of Mayor and Commissioners. City Hall is the official meeting place and the City Auditorium is the alternate meeting place.
On a motion by Turner and a second by Seals, the city voted to hold its meetings at City Auditorium through the rest of 2020.
In making this move, the city said it was to allow those wanting to attend city board meeting to practice social distancing.
• The city voted to pay Miscellaneous Claims for the following: Millicent Dixon, $2,250; Airport Board, $2,291; Chamber of Commerce, $4,166.67; Park Commission, $11,166.67; Speech & Hearing, $1,333.33; Housing Authority, $15,000; CARES, $4,166.67; Rust College, $625; Pitney Bowes, $38.53. The motion was made by Plunk and seconded by Murphey.
• The city acknowledged a grant award from the U.S. Justice Department for reimbursement of the COVID-19 expenditures in an amount not to exceed $45,597 and authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute documents relative to the grant award.
• The city discussed all local schools hosting one big parade for graduating seniors. The request was turned over the city attorney Melvin Miller and Clarksdale Police Chief Sandra Williams.
• The city voted to go into executive session to discuss personnel issues.
When commissioner returned to open session they voted to:
On a motion by Seals and a second by Plunk the city acknowledged the resignation of Edward Johnson, Patrol Officer in the Police Department
On a motion by Plunk and second by Murphey, the city accepted the resignation of Dorothy Henley, Patrol Officer in the Police Department.
On a motion by Turner and second by Commissioner Seals, the city approved the request of the Fire Chief Rocky Nabors to allow a Firefighter to return to work after contingencies are met.
On a motion by Murphey and second by Turner the city approve the satisfactory completion of the introductory period of Ashley Davis, Dispatcher in the Police Department
On a motion by Turner, seconded by Seals, the city approved the satisfactory completion of the introductory period of Darius Russell, Laborer in the Public Works Department
On a motion by Seals and second by Plunk, the city approved the longevity increase of Joseph Pittman, Fireman in the Fire Department
On a motion by Plunk and seconded by Murphey the city approved the medical release of a Police Department employee.
On a motion by Seals and second by Plunk the city approved leave for a Public Works employee under the emergency leave policy.
• The Board of Mayor and Commissioners voted to recess until noon Thursday, June 4.