The Laurel City Council agreed unanimously to increase funding for the Laurel-Jones County Library by $30,000 per year.
The city will allocate $135,000 per year to the library for the current fiscal year, 2020, up from the $105,000 that was originally budgeted. With Councilmen Travares Comegys and George Carmichael absent, the council voted 5-0 for the increase.
Library employees and supporters asked for more money in the council’s previous meeting after a PowerPoint presentation showing some of the work the library is doing in the community.
In a meeting that lasted only 10 minutes, the council also agreed to enter into an agreement with Municipal Intercept Company, LLC, to collect debts that are owed to the city. Debt information will be submitted to the Mississippi Department of Revenue and collected from the debtor’s state income tax refund and paid to the municipality.
The Legislature passed a bill this year to allow the collection of debts in that manner. MIC will receive 20 percent, and the Department of Revenue will get 5 percent of all funds collected. Mayor Johnny Magee said in the previous meeting that the city has more than $9 million in uncollected fees and fines owed to it.
In another matter, the city entered into an agreement with the American Red Cross to allow the Cameron Center and L.T. Ellis Center to be used as shelters and/or disaster-service centers if needed.
The council also approved upcoming travel for workshops for City Clerk Sharon King and deputy clerks Lauren Stewart and Kristal Jones to Jackson in December and for all elected city officials and clerks to attend the Mississippi Municipal League Mid-Winter Conference in Jackson in January.
A public hearing was set for Dec. 3 for the owners of the following properties that were deemed a public menace by the Inspection Department:
• Three lots on Palmer and Capitol streets owned by Rosie McCormick;
• 725 Poplar Dr., Royaleen Robinson;
• 125 South 18th Ave., Becky Rambin;
• 1903 Gen. Pershing St., Marilyn Grissom;
• 1508 George St., Frankin Jones;
• Second lot on Green Street, Tilas Green (Marva Gilmore);
• 2412 Palmer Ave., Susie Green (Marva Gilmore);
• 111 West 16th Ave., 5th Avenue Baptist Church;
• 1830 North 1st Ave., Protax 04 LLC;
• 2009 North 5th Ave., Patricia Evans;
• 1516 North 3rd Ave., Dorrell Johnikin;
• 138 Mimosa Dr., Anthony Fagan.
The council agreed unanimously to have the city clean the following properties and bill the owners after the Inspection Department determined that the properties were a public menace:
• 2103 Center Ave., Romas McLain;
• 3611 Audubon Dr., Debra Williamson;
• 2239 North 2nd Ave., Kimberly Smith