Fireworks, vehicles and home addresses led to a heated discussion during the recent city council meeting.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s usual order of business hit a road bump when it came time to approve the claims docket during last Monday’s meeting.
Alderman Sir Johnathan Rucker said he had concern over approving the claims docket when he had reservations about the recent New Year’s Eve firework show held by the city.
“The vote is not saying you agree to spending the money,” said Lilli Evans-Bass, board attorney. “It is a vote for a lawful expenditure that has been approved by the board for what the city owes, the debt.”
“Five years from now, if something comes up, I want to make sure that I am cleared,” Rucker replied. “I just want to make sure they don’t come looking for me.”
Mayor Diane Delaware said Rucker would not be voting on whether or not the city should have had a firework show.
“You are simply voting to pay the claims docket,” she said. “But, of course, you can always vote ‘no’ on the claims docket any time you get ready.”
Alderwoman Elizabeth Thomas also said she had reservations on the docket.
“I want the record to reflect that I am voting for the docket with the exception of two items,” Thomas said. “I need an opinion of vehicles being allowed to leave outside of Yazoo County on a daily basis before I can vote ‘yes.’ And I am also voting ‘no’ on the prior fireworks show that displayed on 12-31-19 because I was not in office when it was discussed.”
“You weren’t in office when a lot of stuff was discussed on this claims docket,” Delaware said.
“I know, but this is one thing that I don’t want to come back,” Thomas replied.
Evans-Bass said the city does have a policy for the use of city-owned vehicles, but whether or not it was a lawful expenditure depends on whether or not it was in compliance with that policy.
“In the last board meeting, it was discussed that a person has six months to relocate, and when I asked the question about the gas, who paid for the gas, the mayor said the city of Yazoo,” Thomas said. “I am a citizen of Yazoo City that is paying for this.”
Evans-Bass said the board did issue an emergency order waiving the residence requirement of the police and fire departments.
“Can we not find anyone to do these jobs willing to move here in Yazoo City and pay taxes just like I pay,” Thomas asked. “When we pay this docket, this money comes from tax payers. We are paying the taxes and it is stating right here in this policy and procedure that all the employees of the city of Yazoo City, unless a waiver has been approved by the governing authority and within the accordance of the law, must reside in Yazoo County, Mississippi. Back in the day, you had to live in the city. If you are making your livelihood here, why don’t you want to live here?”
Delaware reminded Thomas that there are waivers.
With Rucker and Thomas objecting the claims docket, the motion to approve the payroll was moved by Rucker and seconded by Thomas.
“Should we pay people who don’t…anyway…” Delaware said, with a laugh.
“Mayor…” Thomas said.
“I didn’t recognize you,” Delaware replied.
“I know you didn’t,” Thomas continued. “We are here to do a job. I am not being funny, and I am not going to be treated like a child. But when I seconded you started making comments.”
“I did not,” Delaware said.
“Mayor, please,” Thomas replied. “But go ahead on. I will remove my second because if it’s gonna cause some controversy, I remove it.”
The payroll was then approved with Thomas abstaining.