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Wesson to rework fees for use of Old School

The Wesson Old School is bleeding money and has been for years.

Wesson Mayor Alton Shaw brought the issue up for discussion in Tuesday’s Board of Alderman meeting, where he suggested that having many small events at the building is contributing to wear and tear requiring expensive repairs.

“We’re trying to decrease the traffic,” he said. “We spent $30,000 last year. We’re probably going to spend $10,000 to $15,000 this year in repairs.”

To solve this issue, Shaw suggested the board decide on a new fee structure, possibly removing tiered events entirely and instead charge a flat fee. The goal of the restructuring is to rent the building for a few large events a year, instead of many smaller events. The board plans to take the month to consider what a new fee structure should look like and vote on it in January’s board meeting.

In the meantime, Shaw assured the public the new plans would not interfere with the Old Time Christmas at the Old Wesson School Dec. 13, or any other events currently booked. Ward 4 Alderman Mike King suggested that the cost of maintaining the old school would be better justified if the school was used for community events more often.

“We’re bleeding money on a building that is seldom used by the town itself,” King said. “Any taxpayer that looks at that is going to think we’re crazy to continue to spend money on that. We need to get into a regular schedule of events every year, so people can expect those events at the old school.”

Public Works Director Brad Turner said that often people from out of town will rent the building for events and bring their own concessions without spending any money in the town.

“There’s no business of any kind that at the end of the year sees they’re in the red (and) keeps doing what they’re doing,” he said. “They’re going to do something different. They’re going to go a different route.”

In other business:

• The board voted to create an overtime policy for public works employees called to work after hours and on the weekend.

• The board approved a contract for a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System from Hawk Remote.