Clarksdale resident Roosevelt Williams put in a claim Tuesday alleging a backed-up sewer caused issues at his home on Edgemont Cove and he’s asking Clarksdale Public Utilities pay for all damages.
The matter was discussed in executive session during the meeting since it could go into litigation and the CPU board of directors unanimously denied the claim.
CPU general manager Curtis Boschert reported the sewer crew was called to the location on two occasions. He said both times the main line was clear and neighbors’ lines were not stopped up. On the second occasion, Willie Wolfe from CPU ran the camera in Williams’ line and found the blockage to be on the private line.
“We went out there and found no problems,” Boschert said. “Nobody else had any issues next door and the line in the alley was clear.
“The blockage was before you got to the main sewer. I think it was consistent with what had happened before. That was why we denied the claim.”
In other business, the Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners recently passed a resolution calling for a special election on Aug. 6 to turn the CPU commission into an advisory board. The matter must go through the state legislature for the election to take place.
Boschert was provided an opportunity to comment after the meeting.
“One, we haven’t seen any signed resolutions that the city has passed, so it would be premature to comment,” he said.
“Nor have we seen any legislation, so I think it would be premature to comment at this point.”
In the minutes provided from the most recent CPU regular meeting Dec. 11, 2018, it showed the commission allotted Checky Herrington from Starkville with a budget of $4,500 per month to focus on the execution of the CPU website and social media platforms.
The commission unanimously voted on Tuesday to pay $500 for sponsorship to the Clarksdale Film & Music Festival set for Jan. 25-26. CPU paid $1,500 for sponsorship to the festival in 2018 and $100 in 2017. The decision to pay $500 came after a short discussion as the festival originally asked for a $1,500 sponsorship once again.
“Is this ($1,500) the amount we gave them last year?” asked board member Donald Mitchell.
“That’s what they represented to me,” Boschert replied. “That’s what they say in their letter. I’m assuming that’s what it is.”
Board attorney David Hunt said there should be three tiers in the budget for a particular request.
“A top tier would be the Juke Joint Festival,” Hunt said.
Boschert said the film and music festival does not compare to the Juke Joint Festival or Sunflower River Blues &Gospel Festival.
“Since we don’t have anything in the budget specifically, I make a motion we give them $500,” said Mitchell and the board agreed.
Board president James Hicks raised three issues during discussion and the first was about the company’s drug testing policy.
Hunt said former CPU general manager Mark Johnson changed the policy.
“He, for some reason, didn’t go with the random computer drawings,” Hunt said. “He would ask me to come up to his office and he would draw a name and I kept the record.”
Hunt said he believed computer drawings should be the way to do the testing.
“My experience is it needs to be totally non-human involvement over somebody pushing a button,” Boschert said, adding he would see what he could do to make the tests totally random.
Hicks next asked what CPU’s role is in the alley behind the Clarksdale post office.
Boschert said the alley and street are maintained by the city.
Once there is a hole, Boschert said CPU fills it in with gravel, but at that point, it is incumbent on the city to maintain it.
Hicks asked about the fuel adjustment rate being on the customers’ bills since there was some confusion.
“Now we’re separating out the fuel adjustment charge and rate,” Boschert said. “We’ve had a few people question whether that was an additional fee that was now being added and it was not. It’s just a separation out of what the total bill was. It’s just showing the rate payers and the customers where that figure came from.”