City board accepts old elementary site

By PAT BROWN,

It is official.  The city of Magee holds the deed to the old Magee Elementary facility and plans were to have a lease with Head Start in hand by last Wednesday.

Mayor Dale Berry said he had learned his lesson about making comments about schools and said those were better left to the board attorney and Alderman Patrick Brown.   

But not before he made the statement that Alderman Brown and other developers were developing a subdivision on the other side of the elementary school and it would be a shame to have a deteoriating facility like an abandoned school impacting the development. 

There were no questions from the board so on a motion by Angel Brister and a second by Whitney Baker the board approved accepting the property from the school board. 

Attorney Bruce Smith then told the board they must declare the property surplus so they could approve a lease to Five County Child Development Program/Head Start coordinator for Simpson County.  A motion was made by Patrick Brown and seconded by Matthew Hickman.  The motion passed. 

Smith informed the board that the insurance, $1 million, and 501-C-3 was in order and the board authorized the mayor to proceed with signing the 20 year lease agreement at the rate of $100 per year. 

Mayor Dale Berry told the board that he and two of the aldermen, Patrick Brown and Lane Steel held a private meeting with the people from Pine Lake about using the building that was the work center for Mississippi Department of Corrections. Berry stated had he called the whole board he would have had to call a special board meeting which would have been open to the public. 

The plan is to use this facility to house parolees that have no housing or job options. 

There is a program called MORE which is Mississippi Offenders Re Entry program where they are given jobs and transportation.  Aldermen Hickman and Baker said there had been some concern expressed.  Rather than approving the $2,500 rent option the board decided to wait until the next meeting to find out a little more about the program.  The facility would house up to 20 residents. 

Alderman Brown said there had been some of the same concern expressed when the satelite prison was discussed in Magee so many years ago and it was a good move for the community.  

A resident was wanting a refund from the city because they had been paying for sewer services.  The city offered to refund six months of services for refund.  The resident was not satisfied and wanted a full refund.  The amount was $519.88 the board attorney said the city was obligated to provide the refund for services which were not provided.  Alderman Brown said there were other accounts that had the same situation but would not identify them at the meeting and said he would discuss it at a later date. 

It was also reported there was damage to a water tank that was a problem from improper care from the company that provides annual service to the exterior.  The company Sauez is paid an annual fee of $40,000 year was said to have not prepared the surface properly before it was painted, this was according to Mayor Dale Berry. 

 Mayor Berry reports the splash pad is now open ast the Sports Plex.  He said the chamber is sponsoring a bar-b-que contest for the Fourth of July fireworks show at the sportsplex. 

He mentioned the city’s paving projects will be starting June 18. 

In addition there have been inquiries from Burger King and Dollar Tree about the city’s sign ordinances.  This is a good indicator they may have interest in locating in Magee.