Alderwoman resigns, boat fees discussed
By Shaun Szkolnik
Ward 3 Alderwoman Kelly Griffin tendered her resignation during the Board’s meeting on Tuesday, September 1.
“Like the rest of 2020, resigning from something I love was not part of my plan,” said Griffin. “My family was presented with an opportunity which requires us to move out of Ward 3, and I am elated for this new chapter. Being an alderwoman in Long Beach was an absolute privilege, and I was humbled and honored to represent Ward 3 for almost eight years.”
Griffin’s announcement was greeted with an outpouring of emotion from her colleagues on the Board.
“I just want to say, and I think I’m speaking for the Board, how much we appreciate your contribution to this Board,” said Mayor George L. Bass. “I knew after we were elected and we did our retreat that you were a big player in this group and you were a contributor. You have proven me correct. It is sad that we are losing you … you’re truly going to be missed being here. You are always going to be our friend, and we will always count on you to be a part of us.”
Immediately after accepting Griffin’s resignation, the Board established, in accordance with the City Code on municipal elections, that a special election will be held on October 13, 2020. Candidates seeking to fill the position will need to qualify by 5 p.m. twenty days prior to the election. Potential candidates will be required to qualify by submitting a petition to the City Clerk. Each petition will need the signature of at least fifty qualified electors from Ward 3. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the special election, the candidates receiving the highest number of votes will participate in a run-off election to be held on October 27, 2020.
In their September 1 meeting, the Board also discussed assessing fees to boat owners who did not evacuate the harbor during the recent severe weather events. Twelve boats failed to evacuate after the Board declared a state of emergency in anticipation of storms Marco and Laura. Compliance with the policy of evacuating, during a declared state of emergency is required by the contract that boat owners sign. The fee for being in variance with the policy is $1,000. The Board agreed to allow the Chief of Police and the Harbormaster to handle the matter. Boat owners will be able to make their case to the City Judge, and special circumstances will be taken into consideration.
In addition, a motion to approve repairs to the pier at the harbor was heard and approved by the Board. A flow-through mini mesh grating will be installed. A similar device is used at the Ship Island dock. The upgrade in cost for the grating is $1,220. The upgrade can be approved and paid for through hazard mitigation.
The Board also approved a motion to allow the Rotary Club to operate food and beverage concession at the harbor. This will allow for the Rotary Club to meet needs created by Cruisin’ the Coast in October. Cruisin’ the Coast has several plans to maintain safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had a meeting a week and a half ago, and they are planning to move forward,” said Bass. “They have sent a plan to the governor, and we are waiting on him to approve their plan. They laid out several precautions that they have taken and are going to be taking for this event. Our concern was the parade, and I think we’ve got some very good feedback from them on what they are going to do.”
In other City business, the Board of Alderman adopted the fiscal budget for 2021. The Board also approved a measure granting a franchise to Mississippi Power, as well as the millage rate for 2021, as there was no increase in the amount of the rate.
The Board of Alderman will meet again on Tuesday, October 15.