McComb’s city board on Friday renamed the downtown bridge after Black Lives Matter, rescinding an earlier vote to rename Pearl River Avenue after residents from that street attended a work session last week to talk about the decision.
Selectman Devante Johnson, who attended the meeting by phone, suggested the change during last week’s work session.
The change rescinded the rename of Pearl River Avenue. In its place, it designated the bridge that crosses over the Canadian National Railroad tracks as Black Lives Matter Avenue.
The approval came after the vote split down racial lines, with Johnson and selectmen Shawn Williams voting for the measure and selectmen Ted Tullos and Michael Cameron voting against it.
Mayor Quordiniah Lockley broke the tie in favor of renaming the bridge. Selectmen Ronnie Brock and Donovan Hill did not attend the meeting.
The bridge was the focal point of a peaceful march that took place on June 11 that was organized by Johnson and religious leaders in the city.
The board also approved placing a marker on the east side of the bridge to indicate its new name.
Johnson said he decided to restrict the change to the bridge because it would not affect any residents or businesses but still held significance as the area of the march.
When asked why he voted against the new rename after the meeting, Tullos said he was “not into renaming streets.”
In other city news, the debris removal team the city contracted to clean up the April 23 tornado damage has finished cleaning and almost completed the disposal process, according to Public Works Director Alice Barnes and True North Emergency Management Senior Operations Manager Jim Garner.
“They are finished with the pickup. They’ve got all the material ground, and they are doing the haul out to the landfill now,” Garner said.
Garner estimates the work will be done by the first of the coming week barring more rainouts, which have plagued the cleanup for the past month.
Barnes said in addition to the cleanup nearing completion, True North has also started the process of filing for reimbursement through public assistance granted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The board also authorized the mayor to sign a letter increasing the city’s debris monitoring contract with Debris Tech from $150,000 to $225,000.
After the discussion, the board approved multiple payments to the companies responsible for the cleanup, including a $63,191 payment to Land Company Development, and payments of $26,943, $6,848 and $3,890 to Debris Tech. The board also made a $12,047 payment to True North.
In other news, the board:
• Approved a $82,867 payment to the Pike County tax collector’s and tax assessor’s offices for as part of an interlocal agreement for the collection of taxes and assesment of property.
• Authorized a $3,690 payment to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office for the housing of city inmates in May.
• Made a $600 payment to Revise LLC for software updates and tech support.
• Authorized Lockley to execute the contract with Bruno & Tervalon LLP for bookkeeping and financial services for the city’s 2019 financial statements.
• Approved paying for COVID-19 testing for city employees.