Council: Metrocenter or Bust; Only Residents Allowed | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Council: Metrocenter or Bust; Only Residents Allowed

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The Jackson City Council authorized the mayor to execute an agreement to move city offices into the Metrocenter today.

Only Jackson residents will be able to serve on the city's boards, commissions and authorities, the Jackson City Council voted 4-to-0 today.Currently, the mayor appoints potential board members, and the council confirms appointments. However, the new ordinance restricts the mayor from appointing people who live outside the city limits. Furthermore, each board, commission or authority member must continue to live inside city limits during their term. If the board member moves outside city limits at any given time during the term, the city must immediately consider the appointment terminated and deem the board position vacant.

Council members who did not vote today include Ward 2 Councilman Chowke Lumumba who was absent for today's meeting, and Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett Simon who stepped out during the vote. Jeff Weill's former Ward 1 council seat remains unfilled until the Feb. 15 special election.

The ordinance change means board members like Jackson Redevelopment Authority member John Reeves will not be eligible for re-appointment. Reeves recently moved from Jackson to Madison after losing his District 71 seat in the House to Rep. Adrienne Wooten in 2007. Reeves took a seat on the Jackson Redevelopment Authority board in 2008, while still a Jackson resident, but his term expires Aug. 13, 2013.

Reeves did not immediately return calls for comment.

City spokesman Chris Mims said Reeves' seat on the board would remain intact, despite the council's vote.

"Because he was appointed before this vote, he will be grandfathered in," Mims said.

Metro Moves Forward
The Jackson City Council also voted to authorize negotiations with the owners of the unused Belk Department Store to house some city offices in the Metrocenter Mall, on U.S. Highway 80. Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. approached the council last year with the prospect of moving city offices currently housed in the Atmos Building, on West Capitol Street, and in the Jackson Medical Mall, into the 60,000 square feet of space.

Johnson had originally proposed moving the city's Personnel Department, the Jackson Police Department's Precinct 2, the city's public-access channel, and the city's water and sewer administrative offices to the mall. The order the council passed today, however, also includes the Department of Human and Cultural Services, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and a risk-management division of the city's legal department in the relocation.

"We intend to use all of the 60,000 square feet of space," Johnson told the council this morning.

Retro Metro LLC, a project developed by King Edward Hotel developer David Watkins, wants to charge the city $8.12 per square foot for a monthly rental amount that will not exceed $40,583. The city is currently paying $10.85 per square foot for its space at the Jackson Medical Mall.

Retro Metro LLC also offered to spend $2.5 million to build out and renovate the Belk space to accommodate the city's departments.

"We intend to get the city moving in by July 1," said Watkins Development Vice President Jason Goree, who added that the negotiations still underway with the city concern the length of the lease, rather than the price. The city order approved today caps the lease at 20 years, although the city could opt for a shorter lease.

Previous Comments

ID
161975
Comment

great move, City of Jackson.

Author
msnative1943
Date
2011-02-08T20:25:31-06:00
ID
161983
Comment

Moving in a postive direction!

Author
833WMaple
Date
2011-02-09T08:34:20-06:00

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