At the May 7 city board meeting, Mayor Tim Kent voted to break a tie on whether to pay New Albany’s bills. The mayor rarely needs to vote to break a tie in the deliberations of the New Albany Board of Aldermen.
NAnewsweb.com could not find anyone who recalled it having happened before in a matter as routine as paying the bills.
A tie-breaking vote on paying bills
As usual, the first item on Tuesday night’s agenda under the “general city business” heading was: Approval/Corrections of Claims Docket April 2019. The claims docket is simply a summary of the city’s bills for all goods and services received the prior month. It ranges from paying contractors for mowing at the Sportsplex to buying toilet paper and paper towels used in city-owned restrooms.
Monday night, Third Ward Alderman Kevin Dale White was absent. With no discussion, the mayor called for the vote on whether or not to pay the April “claims docket.” First Ward Alderwoman Livingston and Alderman-at-Large Keith voted “yes.” However, Fourth Ward Alderman Will Tucker and Second Ward Alderman Johnny Anderson voted “no.”
Mayor Kent then voted “yes,” breaking the tie.
It was handled in such a low-key, routine manner that many people present did not realize it had happened. This NAnewsweb.com reporter asked Mayor Kent if he’d understood correctly that the mayor had had to vote to break a tie. The mayor answered affirmatively.
NAnewsweb.com then asked why two of the aldermen voted against paying the bills.
Explaining the “no” votes
City Attorney Regan Russell interjected that aldermen are not required to answer as to why they vote for or against paying the bills. However, he said they could answer if they chose to do so.
Second Ward Alderman Anderson explained thusly: His son, an employee of New Albany Lights Gas and Water (NALGW), travelled out-of-town to earn continuing education credit. The credit is mandatory for his job as a NALGW lineman. The April claims docket included routine reimbursement for that travel. Anderson, as a matter of form, did not want to be on record as approving a payment to a member of his own family.
In a conversation after the meeting, Ward Four Alderman Tucker said, “The two claims docket items I voted against tonight were docket #139006 for $4,500 to TRS for planting trees and docket #139101 for $7,875 to Warren County Nursery for 175 crepe myrtle trees.”
“Those are the ones alongside Bankhead, only in the cemetery (which is not owned by the city). I feel as though the money could have been put to better use. Not only the money in planting, but the cost in the future of pruning annually.”
In other business Monday night:
- The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to award a contract for $573,822.92 to Mid-South Construction Company. They are the low bidder for work on the expansion of NALGW natural gas service into Marshall County.
- Mayor Kent reported that AT&T has delayed work on completion of the new three-lane Coulter Drive project. AT&T has failed to move some of its lines and cables. Therefore, paving cannot be completed. The mayor said MaxxSouth cable television company also had to move some of its cables. However, MaxxSouth has completed its work. Kent said he had contacted the Mississippi Public Service Commission (MPSC) about the AT&T holdup. He believes that AT&T will now move forward expeditiously to do its job. The paving contractor cannot finish widening Coulter until those AT&T lines have been moved.
- The board voted to condemn a structure at 127 Short Street. The city will demolish the structure unless its owner does so, or otherwise removes it from the lot in 30 days. Lee Anne Rogers and Betty Edwards told the board that the 127 Short Street structure is a rental unit. They said tenants severely damaged the structure. The owner intends to move the structure, a mobile home, to a location outside the city limits. They believe they can restore the mobile home and rent it again in a location not restricted by the city code.
The Board’s next scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 5:30 PM.
The Coulter road project: https://www.nanewsweb.com/coulter-drive-widening-underway/