City negotiates new sewer contract with Mar-Jac Poultry

By BUSTER WOLFE,

The City of Hattiesburg and a major industry in the Hub City have negotiated a new sewer contract to bring the costs more in line with other companies in the area.

Mar-Jac Poultry, which also received an ad valorem tax exemption at Tuesday’s City Council meeting at City Hall, had been operating under a contract that was based on the number of chickens that were processed versus the amount of effluent that was discharged into the city’s wastewater system, according to Mayor Toby Barker.

“Mar-Jac was on a different sewer contract,” he said after Tuesday’s meeting. “In previous times, it was (measured) by actual heads of chickens. Now we have an actual meter on that facility.”

Barker said the wastewater costs will be phased in gradually.

“We measured (the amount of discharge) and it came out to a very much reduced rate compared to other employers,” he said. “We kind of nudged them in the direction; however, if you went the full price in one year, it would probably put them out of business. So both Mar-Jac and the city came together and agreed to step it up by 50 cents (per thousand gallons) a year for each of the next three years. Then we will renegotiate after that.”

For 2018, Mar-Jac will pay $1.36 per thousand gallons of wastewater that is treated by the City of Hattiesburg. That rate increases to $1.86 in 2019 and $2.36 in 2020. After that, the rates will be negotiated again.

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday granting and allowing ad valorem tax exemption to Mar-Jac Poultry for no longer than 10 years. The period began Dec. 31, 2017 and ends Dec. 31, 2026, with a true total value of $2,913.838.50, or the amount approved by the Mississippi Department of Revenue. The exemption does not include state and school district ad valorem taxes.

In other action during Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council:

• Unanimously adopted an Ordinance for the petition filed by Marcus Cooper, Applicant, on behalf of V.L. Dye Jr., owner, Chip Grenn, agent, to change the zoning

classification for a property located at 2108 W. Fourth St. from Multi-Family Residential District and Professional Business District to Community Business District. The Planning Commission recommended to Approve on Jan. 3, 2018.

Voted 3-0 with one abstention to adopt a Resolution authorizing Requisition No. 14 from the Project Fund Construction Account in connection with a certain loan agreement dated Aug. 18, 2016, by and between the Mississippi Development Bank and the City of Hattiesburg. Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden recused herself from the vote, and Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado abstained.

Unanimously authorized the Mayor to execute in quadruplicate Amendment No. 5 to license agreement between the City of Hattiesburg and AT&T, allowing that equipment be added, modified and/or replaced at a cell tower located on water tank at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Unanimously authorized Mayor to execute professional services agreement in duplicate with Shows, Dearman and Waits, Inc. for services related to the replacement of the Bridge at the North Entrance to the South Lagoon. The contract calls for the work to be completed in 12 months at a cost of $37,500.

Unanimously authorized Mayor to execute an agreement between the City of Hattiesburg and Municode for online services of publishing and updating Code of Ordinances for the City of Hattiesburg. The cost is $1,495 annually for a four-year contract.

Unanimously authorized Mayor to execute duplicate original agreement between City of Hattiesburg Parks and Recreation and Hattiesburg Arts Council to provide art cultural programs for children and cultural opportunities for adults, seniors, and persons with disabilities for Hattiesburg residents from Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2018. The city will provide no more than $20,760 for the cost of activities.

Unanimously approved revised survey and waiver valuation amount and declare  them as fair market value for property necessary for COMSWIP Sewer Project Phase XII, Site 5, Hester parcel, pursuant to MS Code 43-37-3 and other applicable statutes; Original valuation approved; Authorized fair market value offer of $1,800 for said parcel.

Unanimously acknowledged receipt of the financial statements and supplemental information for the Combined Water & Sewer System of the City of Hattiesburg for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015, from Carr, Riggs & Ingram (On file in the City Clerk's Office).

Unanimously acknowledged receipt of letter terminating contract with Carr, Riggs and Ingram for audit financial services for fiscal year 2016.

Unanimously adopt a Resolution appointing Alan R. Howe as Director of Water and Sewer for the City of Hattiesburg at an annual rate of $75,000.

Unanimously adopted a Resolution closing two bridges inside the city limits of Hattiesburg, the Campbell Scenic Drive Bridge and the Roy Street Bridge; said bridges have been closed for a lengthy period of time and have ceased to be used for public purposes.

Unanimously acknowledged receipt of and accepted the Local Mosquito Control Grant awarded to the City of Hattiesburg by the Mississippi Department of Health in the amount of $49,688; authorized acceptance and execution of grant.

Unanimously acknowledged receipt of a permanent utility easement across a portion of property from Grady L. Myrick, Jr.; Authorized City Clerk to record with Forrest County.

Unanimously acknowledged receipt of a permanent utility easement across property from Linda W. Barrack; Authorized City Clerk to record with Forrest County.

Unanimously acknowledged the sale of grave spaces.

Unanimously acknowledged and authorized issuance of manual check for CDBG Program Claim.