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Wesson creates zoning board

After much discussion, the Wesson Board of Aldermen on Tuesday approved zoning for a building on Main Street under the condition that the width of the building is a minimum 32 feet and it follows the zoning requirements for setbacks.

Following the vote, Mayor Alton Shaw announced the creation of a zoning board that had been voted on in December.

“We want to get a lot of these things that y’all just witnessed out of here, and put it in another area so that these kind of things go on beforehand,” Shaw said about discussions before the vote. “When it gets to this point, it will be the recommendation of the zoning board to approve or deny the request. It helps answer questions beforehand, it helps clear up confusion and it takes the politics out of it. We want to put it back into the hands of the people if affects — the people in the community.”

Each alderman selected one community member from their ward to serve on the board. Current board members are Kenny Britt, Beth Adcock, Jean Ricks, Jeff Knight and Lee Meredith. Alderman-at-Large Ric Crockett will act as liaison between the zoning board and Board of Alderman. The zoning board will make a recommendation, but the final decision will be made by the Board of Alderman.

“Whoever is denied, that person still has a right to appeal,” Shaw said.

MDES claim

Wesson’s disagreement with the Mississippi Department of Employment Services is headed to circuit court.

“We had an employee that was fired with cause,” Shaw said.

City Attorney Jeff Varas interjected to say that the employee quit.

“That’s right,” Shaw said. “He was [going] to be fired, but then he quit and filed unemployment. Then they just went and started giving it to him. Then they sent us a request for reimbursement.”

Shaw said municipalities have two avenues for unemployment. They can pay a monthly fee for unemployment insurance, or they can avoid the monthly fee by reimbursing legitimate claimants in full.

“Looking at it for small municipalities without a lot of turnover, we actually come out a lot better on that end”  Shaw said. “The problem is, we’ve now had it happen three times where the state has just started paying somebody that did not deserve it. Then they turned around and said, ‘Well they didn’t deserve it, but you still have to pay us.’ … So we’ll take it to the circuit court and fight there.”

Shaw said the current situation was “just not right.”

“We don’t mind paying a legitimate claim for someone that was terminated, but I have a huge issue paying for their mistakes”  he said.

In other business:

• The board voted to approve Wesson’s inclusion in Copiah County’s hazard mitigation plan.

• A TV will be set up in the board room for presentations.

• One resident attended the meeting to tell the board that her trash bin was improperly seized without notice because of an ordinance violation. Shaw said this shouldn’t have happened, and Varas asked the resident to provide an invoice for the price of the bin so the board could decide how to address.

Aldermen Michael King and Mike Douglas were absent from the board meeting. According to Shaw, King was sick, and Douglas had a sick child.