City launches cleanup campaignBy FLOYD INGRAM / THE PRESS REGISTER,
Clarksdale is seeking to instill a little pride in the community and the Mayor and Board of Commissioners may proudly carry two entities to court to prove their point.
Mayor Chuck Espy and each commissioner spoke to concerns in their wards and across the city as Clarksdale appears ready to get tough on businesses and residents that don’t adhere to city ordinances on maintaining their property.
The city specifically spoke to tires strewn around Discount Tires in downtown Clarksdale and tall grass and bushes on the railroad that goes through the middle of town.
Espy said corporations and businesses in Germantown and Oxford are held accountable for the appearance of their property and he wants the same rules to apply to Clarksdale.
“If you are drilling fiber optic lines, redoing sewer or water lines, the gas company, whatever, you will be held accountable for leaving it better than you found it,” said Espy. “We need to let people know Clarksdale has higher standards and we expect them to abide by them.”
Espy also directed city board attorney Melvin Miller to contact Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, CEO Robert Riley about maintaining railroad right of way. Espy pointed out this is a reoccurring problem each summer and it needs to stop.
“If we need to sue them, let’s discuss this in executive session,” said Espy. “Counselor I am asking you to consider taking them to court and tying them up until this matter is taken care of.”
Ward 4 Commissioner Ed Seals agreed with the Mayor.
“We are all quite aware with the problem with the railroad property,” said Seals. “We’ve sent them letters and talked to them but it has apparently fallen on deaf ears. It’s time for stiffer action.”
Seals asked the city to expand their clean-up effort to other businesses downtown and across the city.
Ward 1 Commissioner Bo Plunk said he was concerned with the appearance of Discount Tire and Auto at the corner of Delta Ave. and Second Street.
“We have told them and cited them and it doesn’t do any good,” said Plunk. “They are right downtown where everybody sees them, including tourist. We need to declare them a menace and tell them we will put a lock on the door it they don’t clean up.”
Ward 2 Commissioner Ken Murphey said he just wanted people to take pride in their community.
“Our street department is stretched to the max right now and they don’t have time to pick up trash and clean up your mess,” said Murphey. “I’m just urging people to not throw trash out the window, don’t litter. Please carry it home and put it in your garbage.”
Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner said he has gotten numerous calls on overgrown lots and asked the city hire crews to mow and pick up trash.
In other business:
• The city heard a claim by William Moore, of 517 Sixth Street who said a tree fell on his house and he was asking to city the clean it up.
• Received a notice from Krystal Earl, of 404 Washington, asking the city to close the block on July 25 for a children’s day event.
• Paid miscellaneous Claims in the amounts of $597.40 for the Park Commission, $3,375 to Millicent Dixon, $602.49 to Mayor Espy, $250 to Everlean Butts, $43,008.42 to Neel-Schaffer, $1,113.36 to Landscape Services, $2,250 to Lillie Houston and $11,890 to student in the Walton Fund work program.
• Executed an agreement for Power Source and Belinda Stewart confirming energy efficient lighting was installed at the MAP/Easton building, a building owned by the city.
• Closed out the MAP/Easton CDBG grant.
• Entered an agreement with Mississippi Office of Surplus Property that would allow the Mayor and Department Heads to purchase items from the Office of Surplus.
• Approve a quote of $25,491.47 from State Systems to install a fire alarm system at City Hall.
• Acknowledged the Governor’s Executive Order 1500 which extended the safe return to work order until July 20 with new regulations on concession stands.
• On a motion by Plunk and a seconded by Murphey the city adopted Federal Leave Policy relative to COVID-19, which allows an employee to take up to 80 hours of leave within a two-week period without using their MML or APL for the purpose of testing for COVID-19 if the employee has symptoms or after being quarantined by a physician; it is a one-time use once exhausted then no more is allowed
• On a motion by Turner and second by Seals the city re-appointed the following:
Police Chief - Sandra Williams
Fire Chief - Rocky Nabors
City Attorney - Melvin Miller
Judge - Derek Hopson
Judge Pro Tempore - Carlos Moore
City Prosecutor - Bill Gresham
• In executive session the city discussed a law suit filed by Bruce Ellis, made a settlement offer to MDEQ, set a hearing for Discount Tires, set a hearing for Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad.
• The city recessed until noon Thursday, July 23.