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City of Hazlehurst budget hearing August 20

By Bonnie L. Jackson
News Editor

During the monthly Board of Alderman meeting held on Tuesday, August 6,  City of Hazlehurst leaders set this year’s budget hearing for Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 6 p.m. in the meeting room at city hall.
Mayor Henry C. Banks extended an open invitation to all citizens to come and share their concerns and input at this time.
Also, the board authorized the tax sale.
Other Business
Frank Pickering, Street Department, will look for funding avenues that will help defray the cost of repaving city streets. According to members of the board, the streets were last paved 15 years ago.
Patti Perrott, a resident of Edgewood Drive, requested that the board address the issue of whether a resident living in a clearly residential zoned area has the right to operate a commercial business in the neighborhood.
Perrott stated that the property is an eye-sore because, as a mechanic’s shop, there are cars parked in the front yard and on the street.
It was stated that the owner of the property, Frank Gibbs, acquired a license from the city to operate his business at that address.
The board agreed to take Perrott’s request under advisement to give the proper authorities the opportunity to determine the best course of action. Aldermen Rick Akin promised both parties that the issue would be resolved properly.
The city moved forward on its efforts to get home owners to clean up abandoned or neglected properties. The letter sent from the city to the owners of the property on St. Charles Street, referred to as the Mary Mallard property, was returned to the city.  Olen Bryant advised the city to send the letter again and post the letter on the property at the same time. According to Bryant, this would give the city the power to take further action in cleaning the property.
A lawsuit has been filed against the owner of the property located on Haley Street. According to Bryant,  the owner has filed an answer and both parties are waiting for a court date after the discovery period is completed.
Frank Pickering’s request to hire Billy Ray Miller was approved by the board.
The board received the housing report from Bill Coker. Members stressed the importance of seeking funding opportunities for home rehabilitation in conjunction with building new homes.
Byron Swilley, Hazlehurst Police Department Chief,  submitted a request to hire Jerry McKenzie, full time, to fill the position left vacant by Tracy Smith. William Horton was hired part-time, certified, to fill the part-time position formerly held by McKenzie.
Chief Swilley submitted a request to declare the 1997 F-150 truck used in animal control as surplus. The street department was given the option to  determine if they have a use for the vehicle first.
Chief Swilley will look for a replacement.
Lloyd Hilliard, Water and Sewer Department Superintendent, declared Shady Grove water pump  number 1 an emergency because it has a serious leak. The cost for repair is $9,986.67. Two bids were received for the repair of the Shady Grove well. Lane Century was awarded contract because they  submitted the lowest bid in the amount of $12,506.
Hilliard was authorized to re-open the bidding process for electronic meter reading.
The board approved the purchase of a truck by the water department in the amount of $25,000 or less. The funds are available in this year’s budget.
The board approved  expenditures for Jason Hill and Lloyd Hilliard  to attend the Gulf Coast Water CU classes on September 9-13, 2013. These classes are required for certification.
Waggoner Engineering was approved as administrator for seeking bids for the replacement of Bayou Pierre.
The board approved the claims, and adjourned until August 20 for the budget hearing to be held at 6 p.m. 

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