There was little public comment on Hazlehurst’s proposed comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance during Tuesday’s meeting of the board of aldermen.
The aldermen took the plan under advisement for another 30 days, indicating it would be accepted at the September board meeting.
Mike Monk of the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District answered questions from citizens and city officials during the public hearings. The comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance have been available for review at City Hall for the past couple of weeks and are available from the city clerk. CMPDD has been working with the city for about a year to prepare the plan and zoning.
The comprehensive plan lays out the direction the city expects to move in for the next 20 years, including goals and objectives, land use, transportation, and community facilities.
The plan looks at the needs down the road, Monk explained, concentrating commercial activity on high traffic streets.
“This is long overdue,” said Alderman Rick Akin. “This is going to help the community in the long run. It better defines where we’re headed and eliminates a lot of question marks.”
The comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance will address many continuing problems in the city, providing guidelines and definitions for such as home-occupied businesses and single family homes.
Aldermen accepted the resignation of Dr. Bettie McDaniel from the Hazlehurst School District Board of Trustees.
McDaniel’s letter of resignation cited a scheduling conflict with the school board meetings and evening classes.
The low bid of Tubb Equipment was accepted for a Case backhoe at $64,143.
A resolution was passed authorizing the mayor to enter a grant agreement with the Mississippi Development Authority providing up to $100,000 for the development of two water wells.
A smoke-free policy was adopted, which results in significant savings to the city in health insurance premiums.
Sanitation rates will go up under the new contract. The board approved the contract contingent on the increase being no more than $2 per month for the city’s garbage collection customers.
Mayor Henry Banks thanked Alderman Shirley Sandifer for her hard work pursuing grants funds to address sewage and drainage problems in the city. Sandifer advised that the city has been awarded a $440,000 grant to improve sewerage.
The board took a proposal under advisement from Steve Bozeman on a Chevron card plan that would help the city keep track of fuel usage in its fleet.
Insurance representatives discussed supplemental insurance but no action was taken.
New policies and procedures were adopted for the police department at the chief’s recommendation. Chief Byron Swilley explained that the new guidelines are the same ones used by larger departments.
Christopher was hired as police officer.
The resignation of dispatcher Shaundra Cooper was accepted. Sonya Benson was hired as dispatcher.
The board will meet again on Tuesday, August 19, at 6 p.m. for the annual budget hearing. Mayor Banks advised that the budget includes increases for utilities and fuel, but everything else will be at a minimum. There will be no city tax increase.