If Mayor Sandy Stimpson had not used a portion of his allotted time at Tuesday’s City Council meeting to re-broadcast his commitment to open government and unity, there would be little indication that he walked out of council chambers in frustration one week earlier.
Stimpson said he sent an email to all councilors in late April, informing them that every Tuesday he’d reserve a block of time to speak to them individually about district issues or other concerns. City spokesman George Talbot later said that to date, no one has taken the mayor up on his offer.
“In any organization we all know that communication is important and we have made the effort to make sure we do that,” Stimpson told the council. “We all get busy with other appointments and sometimes fail to take advantage of these opportunities, but this is to assure the City Council we are there to work with you and serve with you to the betterment of all the citizens of Mobile.”
When he concluded, the council unanimously worked through the week’s agenda, in contrast to May 13 when two routine board appointments and a neighborhood initiative failed due to a lack of a supermajority.
At the time, councilmen Fred Richardson, C.J. Small and Levon Manzie indicated they were protesting the council’s failure to appoint former Mayor Sam Jones to the board of the Mobile Area Water and Sewer Service. This week, Richardson said he was still committed to Jones’ nomination and had not changed his plans to re-introduce it to the council’s agenda next week.
Among the resolutions being introduced and approved by the Council included a change to the McGowin Park subdivision, where a developer is expected to announce the groundbreaking of new retail providers within 30 days. The developer will be allowed to sell a portion of the property before infrastructure improvements are complete.
The city is also prepared to purchase a parcel of property on Eslava Creek, which will eventually be the location of its second litter trap. Stimpson called the $18,000 deal with a private property owner “a major milestone” as the city continues to develop an extensive anti-litter campaign. The city’s first litter trap was installed in the same creek in 2012 and has experienced questionable success.
Next week, the council will also likely approve a contract with Newman’s Ambulance Service for deceased body transport for $175 per transport, up to $60,000 for a year. Police Chief James Barber, who reviews bids for the contract, said the lowest bidder, Joe Joe’s Limousine, was rejected because they didn’t have an adequate vehicle for the job.
“We want a level of professionalism,” when the service is necessary, Barber said.
In his monthly financial report, Finance Director Paul Wesch said sales and use taxes were $1.2 million over budget for the year while fees related to business licensing were $500,000 over budgeted figures. Wesch said the numbers were “slightly higher” than anticipated and would be finalized and published on the city’s website by the end of the week.