For a town that needs jobs and taxpayers, the Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Aldermen has set a deadline and told a local business to clean up its act.
The city has been pushing to get the old compress property cleaned up for some time and has finally set a deadline of March 15 for something to be done or to have the owner cited by code enforcement.
“I’ve paid for the taxes and upkeep of that property for 20-years,” said property owner Bob Wright. “Two years ago I leased that property to a Clarksdale company looking to locate here and bring about 30 jobs. It’s not good to try and attract them and then fuss at them.”
Silver Pack is a wholesale company that provides plastic packaging to industry and agriculture, specifically polyethylene wrap silo bags and irrigation pipe. The company is headquartered on Highway 322, but the problem is where it stores product on Sunflower Avenue south of Highway 61.
“It’s a neighborhood and it looks real bad,” said Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner. “You used to keep it cut and clean and that is a residential area now. I get a lot of calls about it.”
Wright pointed out the property is zoned industrial and he does cut and spray it. When Wright also pointed out the adjacent railroad property is not mowed and city property nearby has waist high grass, he was confronted by Mayor Chuck Espy.
When Wright questioned the mayor, Espy asked him not to interrupt.
“When the mayor is speaking you will be quiet in here,” said Espy, adding he wanted Wright to do his part and not talk about other people’s property.
Cleaning up overgrown railroad right of way has been a concern for the city each summer. The city used to mow and maintain much of the railroad right of way in Clarksdale.
Espy asked that his office be allowed to handle this.
Espy said his main concern was the little guy or voters and not corporate America.
Wright had said earlier Silver Pack is looking to expand and has been approached by Winona and Cleveland and the issue could have been handled better by the city.
On a motion by Ward 1 Commissioner Bo Plunk and a second by Ward 2 Commissioner Ken Murphey the board carried over the matter until March 15.
In Other Business:
• Plunk questioned the city attorney Melvin Miller about why demolishing burned and abandoned building has slowed down in Clarksdale.
Miller said the city has a set amount of time to clean up property it has declared a nuisance and scheduled for demolition or it can’t tear down the property. Miller said they are trying to “catch up” on demolishing houses and don’t want the list to get too long.
• The city was informed it leaf sucking truck was broken again and parts had been ordered.
• The Mayor and Board of Commissioners are attending the Mississippi Municipal League Winter Legislative Conference this week at the Hilton in Jackson.
• The city paid the following claims: Cornerstone Services, $2666.67; Brocato Construction $116,756.26; Jubilee Décor, $3,666.65; Altec, $881.61; Hammons and Assoc., $4,697; and Saf-T-Cart, $8,050.
• The city approved travel for the Mayor and grant writer to attend the Delta Regional Authority summit in New Orleans in March.
• The city upped the amount it pays for mileage from 56-cents to 58.5-cents.
• The city approved renaming a street for Ward 4 Commissioner Ed Seal. The event will be held January 21.
• The city acknowledged a summons filed on behalf of Charles Moton. The city forwarded details to the auditor and insurance company.