City seeks cleanup costs

A minivan is damaged by fallen debris on Main Street following the July 23, 2017, Kramer Roof collapse.

McComb officials voted Thursday morning to appeal a ruling handed down Sept. 26 in federal court in the city’s joint lawsuit with Terrence Alexander and his business entities, Talex Enterprises and Jubilee Performing Arts Center.

U.S District Judge David Bramlette handed down a split decision that knocked Hudson Specialty Insurance Company’s refusal to defend Alexander, Talex and Jubilee in court, but granted damages from Hudson to McComb only for a damaged flower bed and streetlights in the vicinity of the former Kramer Roof building at the Five Points in McComb.

Under the ruling, McComb was denied reimbursement for cleanup of debris around the Kramer Roof building — which Alexander and McComb asserted to have collapsed due to the weight of collected rainwater — as well as overtime paid to police, fire and public works employees who cleaned up and secured the area after the collapse.

Bramlette found that the policy on the Kramer Roof property excluded coverage “including prevention of injury to a person or damage to another’s property,” which barred payment to McComb for cleanup and partial demolition of the property itself, as well as the overtime.

The city is appealing on the belief it has a case for wider reimbursement.

The city joined Alexander and his business entities in suing Hudson after dismissing a lawsuit filed against Alexander and those entities in state court.

The agreement released Alexander, Talex and Jubilee from liability for payment to the city, to the extent that Hudson might be ordered to pay some or all of the city’s claimed costs, according to an analysis of the agreement contained in Bramlette’s ruling.

McComb board members voted 3-0 to instruct former board attorney Wayne Dowdy to pursue the appeal after discussing the ruling briefly in executive session. Michael Cameron, Ted Tullos and Shawn Williams all voted in favor; Ronnie Brock, Donovan Hill and Devante Johnson were absent.

Johnson, speaking to the Enterprise-Journal late Wednesday afternoon about board member absences at the Tuesday night meeting — which failed to muster a quorum — and the prior week’s work session, said he had not then received notice of the Thursday meeting’s call.

Mayor Quordiniah Lockley told the Enterprise-Journal on Wednesday morning that he had completed the paperwork for Thursday’s call.

With the present selectmen and Lockley, the board had just enough members to conduct business.

In other matters, the board:

• Approved the municipal compliance questionnaire required to be submitted to the state auditor’s office.

• Paid Wise Carter Child and Caraway law firm and board attorney Angela Carter $543.50 for the city’s joinder to Magnolia’s lawsuit against the Fernwood and Sunny Hill water associations, $1,050 for action against the Code Red Dynasty Divas dance studio and $1,017.50 for work on the city’s purchase of land in Burglund from the Delta Foundation.

• Approved a change order decreasing the cost of water storage tank rehabilitation by $47,195.

• OK’d a change order increasing the cost of work on Water Well No. 5 by $11,090.

• Made final payment to True North Emergency Management for consulting services related to debris cleanup from the May 9 tornado and windstorm.

• Accepted a $2,330 donation from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center to the city animal shelter.

• Accepted a $69,477 quote to repair a screen apparatus at the wastewater treatment plant.

• Paid regular claims of $1,333,378.

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