The big takeaway from this meeting is the Mayor will not ask our voters to allow for the City to take over CPU this year
Still nothing exact on the proposed Corey Moore Sports Complex, or Wing Stop going into our Historic Bus Station
The following are the exact notes given to ClarksdaleNews from attendees at a newly designated monthly press meeting with City of Clarksdale mayor Chuck Espy. The meeting was two weeks ago.
(for exact notes from the recent Quality of Life Commission meeting, click here)
• There were the only reporters present at the meeting. The City clerk, attorney and police chief also were there.
• POLICE: The City had 12 homicides in 2018. Arrests have been made in 9 of those cases, one more pending (awaiting results from the crime lab, no other details given).
• The mayor was asked about the Myrtle Messenger case as some family members have criticized the city on social media. Espy noted the case pre-dated his election but said there’s no record of any family members calling his office and his staff makes every effort to respond to calls from citizens. Chief Williams added that Investigator Douglas has made contact with the Messenger family and has “made progress” on other cold cases.
• PUBLIC REFERENDUM ON INFRASTUCTURE: Espy said the Second Street bridge will be replaced; state to pay 80% of $3.5 million, city will pay 20% (approximately $650k). Public will vote on a bond issue (amount TBD but less than $17 million mentioned earlier) in August. Long discussion about whether or not local/private legislation is required for infrastructure projects when the city is below its debt limit; Espy said he wants voters to determine whether or not the city moves ahead on such projects (like Sasse flooding abatement), entire project (flooding/bridges/etc) will likely be spread over 10-15 years and funded in pieces.
• CPU: Espy was asked about the CPU takeover vote; Espy said he “backed off” after legislators had concerns about the constitutionality of changing rules from a majority of registered voters to a simple majority. City takeover of CPU will NOT be on the ballot this year; Espy said city commissioners should determine what to do about CPU.
• QUALITY OF LIFE COMMISSION: That Board is scheduled to meet 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 4PM, but from now on will only meet if there is business to discuss. City attorney Miller said he often does not know if meetings are being cancelled until a few hours beforehand; Espy said there needs to be a better system and notifications to his office and the press of meetings or cancellations should be made 48 hours in advance. The mayor promised to work on that. The QOLC Board met after this meeting (full notes here).
• Regarding the land purchase for the proposed Corey Moore Sports Complex, Espy said he expects it to be completed in the near future and said such transactions may not be completed until all the funding pieces are in place. “If the board had purchased the land and the project fell through they would be committed to $1 million of farmland and no development,” he explained.
• WING STOP: Espy says that’s moving forward, Boss Wings has hired a contractor and he expects construction to begin soon (hopefully open in late summer). He blamed delays on state agencies; agreed that Archives & History signed off on plans in December, but said that took longer than anticipated. Cathy Clark said state health department just gave approvals in March.