by TAYLOR MITCHELL
On Monday, the City of Clarksdale honored one of its longest serving public officials with one of its highest honors, a memorial resolution.
“Judge Kenneth B. Bush is hereby honored for his honor and dedication to the city of Clarksdale,” City Clerk Cathy Clark read from the resolution. “The officials, department heads and employees will join the city of Clarksdale in mourning the passing of Judge Kenneth B. Bush and express their sympathies and offer their prayers to his family.”
Bush, who was a photographer for the Clarksdale Press Register for 42 years, was elected as justice court judge in 1968. He held the elected position for 44 years.
“Bush was proud of the fact he was elected to the office by a margin of at least 75 percent of the votes for 11 terms,” Clark read from the resolution. “During his entire justice court career, Judge Kenneth B. Bush worked tirelessly for the people of Coahoma County and was always ready and willing to help, no matter how large or small the favor.
“The board of mayor and commissioners wish to memorialize the life of Judge Kenneth B. Bush by its adoption of this resolution.”
The board voted unanimously to adopt the resolution and it was immediately presented to members of Bush’s family.
Also at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Commissioners, Richard Bolen announced the new city website was fully functioning and has already began seeing traffic on its pages.
“We’ve had more than 40,000 hits since Dec. 21,” Bolen said. “On Saturday (Jan. 6) we had 467 views on the site. Sunday after more sharing on Facebook, we had 3,296 views.”
Bolen reported that, prior to Monday’s meeting, the total views on the website from the weekend had reached 7,211 views.
“This is going to amplify and grow exponentially,” Bolen said.
Bolen also asked for a motion to have each city department, including the mayor’s office and each commissioner submit at least piece of content each week for the website. However, the board didn’t make a motion and, instead, asked Bolen to return to the next meeting with a structure for the submitted content.
In new business at Monday’s meeting, the board approved to rezone a portion of land near Pearson Road from Residential (R12) to Agriculture (A1). The approval came after members of the community expressed their approval of the rezoning.
In old business, the board voted to list only one address out of six as a menace and scheduled it for demolition. That was at 839 Grant Place, which was the Prince Hall Masonic Temple. Five other properties were carried over to the board’s next meeting, in order to try and have the property owners present. Those properties, some of which had their original hearing in 2016, were: 228 Sixth Street, 901-903 Florida, 507 Anderson, 904 Sunflower and 705-707 Pecan.
The board also voted to carry over Bubba O’Keefe’s request to have 20 reserved parking spaces in front of the co-operative hotel he plans to open.
Ward 1 commissioner Bo Plunk voiced his opposition to approving the request at Monday’s meeting.
“Before we approve that motion he needs to complete the building,” Plunk said. “They haven’t even started on it. So, we don’t need to meet about property when the project isn’t completed. Until he completes his project I don’t think this should come back before this board.
“It will also give the city attorney time to research the law. It is public property and she should find out if we can even do something like that.”
Ward 2 commissioner Ken Murphey said he felt like the city is finally getting some economic development and “I think we need to move on this as fast as we can. We have somebody who is putting $3 million into a building. I’d really like to go ahead and move faster than just saying we’ll do it when you finish the project.”
“First of all, that is public property. I don’t have a problem selling it to him, but I’m not going to give him to him to use for free,” Plunk said. “I don’t care if he’s putting $100 million into it. We can’t give away property that belongs to the city.”
Also, the board approved that the rank Assistant Fire Chief in the Fire department is no longer a tested position and the fire chief can appoint his own assistant chief, subject to board approval. The person must have held the rank of captain prior to appointment and would return to the rank of captain after serving as assistant fire chief.
In other city business:
– Clark gave the sales tax report to the board and for the third-straight month, the funds received came in under budget. The report stated sales tax funds are $47,748.12 under budget. The estimated budget for the third month this fiscal year was $697,019.76. Overall, sales taxes are down $81,003.47 from last year.
– Assistant police chief Robbie Linley reported the police department received 633 calls for service, which generated 142 reports, 44 arrests were made and 17 tickets were issued.
– Fire chief Rocky Nabors reported his department has had 12 calls, including one house and one grass fire. He also reported grass fires at Oakhurst Cemetery.
– Murphey thanks public works director Todd Jones for picking up old debris from lots on Grant and Lincoln streets.