New Albany MS – New Albany city board 4JUN2019 Curtains for the Cine:
At its regular first-Tuesday-of-the-month meeting, the New Albany Board of Aldermen reached an impasse over buying new curtains for the Cine Theatre at the Magnolia Civic Center.
Phil Nanney asked the board for permission to spend $31,825 to buy new stage curtains for the Cine Theatre. Nanney said the curtains are needed because they are 20 years old, are worn and react to moisture in the theater by contracting and expanding in length. “Sometimes they are four inches off the floor, and sometimes they’re eight inches,” he said.
Nanney said the civic center board has been “frugal” with its budget and thus has the money on hand to pay for the curtains. Upon questioning, Nanney said the civic center has about $73,000 in its accounts. He said the civic center board was just asking for permission to buy the new curtains for the Cine.
Nanney is president of the Magnolia Civic Center board. He is also the part-time executive director of the Union County Development Association (UCDA).
First Ward Alderwoman Amy Livingston made a motion to authorize the purchase of the curtains for the Cine.
Fourth Ward Alderman Alderman Will Tucker then pointed out that the board had been discussing the need for repairs to the civic center’s 20 year old fire sprinkler system, which has developed leaks. Tucker asked where the money was going to come from to repair the sprinkler system if $32,000 is spent for new curtains.
Nanney responded that money for repairs to the buildings generally comes “from the city” and not from “our [civic center] money.”
All of the money to operate the civic center is city money — money that comes from taxes paid by New Albany citizens.
The advisability of installing new curtains before the leaking sprinkler system is repaired was raised by Alderman-At-Large Keith Conlee. Nanney responded that the system was not leaking in the area of the building where the new curtains would be installed.
There followed a discussion of how much it was going to cost to repair the leaking sprinkler system.
Those questions were directed to New Albany Fire Chief Steve Coker, who had, at the board’s request, explored options for fixing the leaking sprinkler system. Coker said he had had one estimate that said repair of the sprinkler system would cost $55,000 to $58,000.
However, Chief Coker said he had not been able to get a second firm quote, because repair people did not want to guarantee that the system would not start leaking again somewhere else. Coker said it would cost about $300,000 to install a new sprinkler that would conform to current fire codes.
When asked about public safety, Coker said the leaking sprinkler system should not be a threat to those who might be in the building in case of fire. “We should be able to get the people out,” he said. “The current condition of the sprinkler system does not create a threat to the safety of people who might be in the theater.
Mayor Kent then asked for a second for Livingston’s motion to buy the new curtains for the Cine. There was no second.
When the motion to buy new curtains died for a lack of a second, Nanney appeared angry. He abruptly dropped a sheaf of papers on the board’s semi-circular meeting desk and quickly left the room.
“I truly think the money we use for Magnolia Civic Center could be allocated differently,” First Ward Alderwoman Amy Livingston told NAnewsweb.com Wednesday morning. “There is not a need for a director of the civic center. That position could easily fall under community development. If we eliminated that position we would have the money for other things.”