Aldermen consider permit fee change

Published 6:45 am Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The City of Oxford held a Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday to discuss proposed changes to city rules, which included modifications to storm shelter requirements and service fees. One of the key items up for second reading was the amendment to city ordinances governing storm shelter requirements.

Oxford Building Inspector Johnathan Mizell presented a report on the proposed modifications to storm shelter requirements. Mizell highlighted changes that would specifically apply to all Group B sites, which encompass schools.

He said the alteration would enable the city to aid school districts in constructing storm shelters while also amending the emergency generator requirements to ensure the shelters remained safe and equipped with emergency lighting.

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Mizell and Mayor Robyn Tannehill said the proposed ordinance pertains solely to Group B sites. Mizell pointed out that Bramlett Elementary would be the only school with a storm shelter once construction on its shelter was completed. The Board unanimously voted in favor of approving the amendments.

Mizell further suggested restructuring the city’s fee schedules. He proposed an increase in building permits and plan review fees, introducing a new $150 charge for residential plan reviews, which currently incur no fees.

Oxford’s Chief Operating Officer Bart Robinson addressed an unexpected request from the Army National Guard to replace the carpet in the Armory offices.

Mayor Tannehill said, “I don’t believe it is our responsibility to paint walls and put in carpet… the Guard needs to budget that through a National Guard expense.” The aldermen agreed the expense was not part of the city’s obligations outlined in the contract with the National Guard.

Infrastructure improvements were also discussed, particularly the enhancement of a pedestrian walkway on West Jackson Avenue and the exploration of grants for wastewater treatment and sewer projects.

City Engineer Reanna Mayoral announced that the bid from Lewis Electric for the West Jackson Avenue project came in $115,000 under budget, now pending review and approval from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

In his quarterly report, Oxford Parks Commission Director Seth Gaines confirmed that city pools are open, and the Leisure Lifestyles of Oxford program has resumed its trip gatherings. This included a trip in March to the Queen’s Reward Meadery in Tupelo.

The program’s participation numbers have remained steady, and Gaines reported that they successfully hosted three indoor and four outdoor pickleball tournaments during the quarter.