By Sean Dunlap
Bude’s Board of Aldermen is hanging out three help wanted signs in hopes of soon filling key departmental vacancies at town hall and in the municipal police department.
During the panel’s monthly business meeting held on Tuesday, Oct. 5, the board accepted the resignations of Town Clerk Ellisha Ford and Deputy Clerk Ann “Missy” Newman effective Monday, Oct. 11.
The panel also accepted the resignation of Deputy Police Chief Kenneth O’Neal Short II effective Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.
Mayor Linda Green suggested the hiring of interim clerks so that business at town hall could continue until a more permanent hiring solution could be found — possibly as early as November.
“The town is presently advertising for candidates to submit their applications to fill these positions now through Friday, Oct. 29,” Green said after the meeting.
During the session, the mayor put two names forward — Katherine Edney and Vanessa Hunt Bolin — to serve in an interim capacity as clerks, which was ultimately approved by the panel at a pay rate of $11 per hour.
In addition to the day-to-day responsibilities at town hall, which includes everything from accepting water and sewer payments from customers to answering constituent questions and complaints, the town clerk also serves as Bude’s municipal court clerk in dealing with a range of affidavits and a myriad of court filings.
Meanwhile, Police Chief Reggie Cain said he is continuing his diligent search for a new deputy chief as well as other officers to augment his agency.
“One of the things that I’ve tried to do since I have been chief is to build our personnel numbers,” Cain added.
“We’ve taken some steps forward and need to continue moving in the right direction to address public safety now and in the future.”
The town’s advertisement for staffers seeks a full-time clerk and a part-time deputy police chief with experience for both positions recommended.
Resumes can be mailed to P.O. Box 448, Bude, MS 39630; faxed to 601-384-4193; or left at town hall, which is located at 125 Railroad Avenue.
The panel is expected to consider its next course of action in filling the positions — particularly how many candidates will be interviewed and how the hiring process will take place — during its next meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
In other action, the Bude Board of Aldermen:
• Ordered property owner Glen Hester to clean up a residential parcel along Main Street in downtown Bude within 30 days of last week’s meeting.
The board held a public nuisance hearing regarding the property, which had been cited as being in a state of disrepair with a tree on the roof, being overgrown and with trash scattered about.
Hester said he has made an effort to trim the grass, but was waiting on an insurance adjuster to see the tree on the house before attempting to have it removed.
He also said any trash on the site was coming from people in the community dumping it on his property
Marsha Webb, who offered photos detailing the condition of the Hester property, asked the town to act decisively on the matter since the property had been an eyesore for some time.
Town leaders granted Hester one month to clean the property up or face having the town come in to address the problem and then placing a tax lien on the parcel to cover any costs of clean-up the town might incur.
• Heard a request from Steve McNulty regarding a proposal by area residents to repair a portion of Third Street adjacent to the old Bude United Methodist Church where a section of road has collapsed.
McNulty said the collapse has been a problem for some time and citizens — with help from the town — wanted to repair the hole at their own expense before a car might fall in.
Board attorney Mary Kathryn Williamson said the town was appreciative for McNulty’s offer and wanted to involve its engineering firm of record — Dungan Engineering — to make certain any repairs proposed and undertaken by residents meet all safety requirements.
McNulty said he agreed with Williamson’s point, but noted those seeking the repair wanted to have it in place by November before the Methodist Church holds its final service.
• Tabled any action seeking local and private legislation before the Mississippi Legislature in regards to the sale of alcohol within Bude’s corporate limits.
During the meeting, Alderman Norma Jean Kelly said she opposed the sale of liquor on religious grounds and no other aldermen expressed a public viewpoint on the matter.
• Discussed the condition of the town’s sewer lagoon with certified operator Randy Cooley.
The lagoon has a number of mechanical and vegetative issues impacting its overall condition — namely a leaking gasket that has limited the volume of waste materials that can be held on site and numerous weeds that have grown unchecked.
Cooley expressed his concerns to town leaders about the situation that has been years in the making and said the problems will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
In a related matter, the town renewed Cooley’s contract to provide oversight services of the town’s sewer lagoon operations.
• Approved the removal and replacement of existing mercury vapor street lighting along Main Street with LED lighting at a cost of $358.71 through Entergy.
• Discussed payment of $7,500 for architectural services related to the historic town-owned Bude train depot.
Belinda Stewart Architects is preparing a report on the condition of the structure as the town and Bude Community Foundation look for financial assistance through the state to renovate and potentially move the building.
• Approved water bill adjustments for September due to overbilling related to the installation of digital water meters.
• Alderman Jeffery Quick presented a list of accomplishments during the past month by town workers, which included trimming grass from sidewalks and gutters.
• Discussed efforts to potentially host a trunk-or-treat event in Bude for the Halloween season.
• Unanimously approved the docket of claims and payroll for September.