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February Board of Aldermen meeting opens on an upbeat note

Hannah Harris, at podium, introduced eight members of the New Albany Boys and Girls Club, each of whom made a statement to the board in support of "NA Cares Week."

New Albany, MS– The New Albany Boys and Girls Club presented an upbeat opening for the February meeting of the New Albany Board of Aldermen.

Each of the eight Boys and Girls Club members present Monday night made a brief statement to the board in support of  a “NA Cares Week for Small Acts of Kindness.” Hannah Harris presented the club members to the board and told the board that Friday, February 17th, is “National Kindness Day.” The board applauded the group and thanked them for attending the meeting and making the presentation

Discussion of refinancing and issuing bonds

In other business Bill Mattox, general manager of New Albany Lights, Gas, and Water (NALGW), told the board that Toyota Corporation had asked that the board consider refinancing the revenue bonds sold to finance construction of the NALGW substation built near the plant.

Discussion of the matter by the mayor, board members, Mattox and New Albany City Attorney Regan Russell revealed a broadly held belief that, while the refinancing might secure a lower rate of interest, the cost of fees associated with re-financing would consume most or all of the potential savings.

The city attorney recommended that the Board of Aldermen authorize further investigation of possible re-financing so long as a “closer look” produced “no cost or obligation to the city.” The board passed a resolution authorizing investigation on those terms. The matter would have to come before the board again before any re-financing actually occurred.

Mattox also discussed issuing bonds to cover part of the costs related to the extension of natural gas service to rural residents of Union and Marshall counties. Mattox said the city had received a $600-thousand block grant to cover a major portion of the new project. He said the expansion would result in improved income for NALGW by adding 250 to 300 additional customers. The board resolved a further look at the those possible bond sales, reflecting an “intent” to sell such bonds.” A public hearing will be required before any of the bonds can actually be sold on the bond market.

The board passed a resolution authorizing itself to conduct “telephonic meetings” in which an absent board member could participate and vote by telephone.

The board authorized the start of condemnation action to demolish a substandard house at 816 Brookwood Street.

Departmental updates, Board of Education appointment

City Code Enforcement Officer Eric Thomas told the board that a previously condemned house at 831 Forrest Heights had been repaired and, he believed, “brought up to code.” The board authorized Thomas to certify the Forrest Heights property for occupancy, subject to a final inspect.

Chief of Police Chris Robertson and NALGW manager Mattox asked for and received authorization of preliminary work related to acquiring property and building a new building to house the police department and NALGW.

The board accepted the resignation of Matt Harris from the city board of education. The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved businessman Sam Creekmore as Harris’s replacement on the school board.

City Tourism and Marketing Director Sean Johnson recommended that the city pursue the possibility of putting on a Crawfish Festival to be held at the Park-Along-The-River. The board authorized an expenditure of $1350 for a sound system for entertainment at the Crawfish Festival and gave preliminary approval by a unanimous vote.

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