Gluckstadt holds first city meeting
GLUCKSTADT — The mayor of Mississippi’s newest city, in front of a standing-room-only crowd, called the first meeting to order amid cheers and applause Tuesday night in a church hall here.
“I am privileged to call to order Gluckstadt’s first meeting of the mayor and board of aldermen,” Gluckstadt Mayor Walter Morrison said to the cheers and applause in the Church Hall at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Church Road.
Officials went on to identify insurance and taxes as the first key items of business to be tackled.
A handful of items on the docket were swiftly addressed, including matters such as approving the city’s charter, retaining Jerry Mills and John Scanlon as city attorneys and deciding to make further city positions to be appointed by the mayor and board.
Those positions include Police Chief and City Clerk.
Moving forward the city will need an insurance plan so that city leaders can officially occupy a space to hold meetings.
Officials approved pursuing a plan with Mississippi Municipal Services for a $500,000 liability plan but said that could take between 30 and 60 days to be fully effective.
In the meantime, the board gave Morrison the authority to set up a P.O. Box and apply for a tax ID number so the city can open a bank account and receive tax revenue from the state.
Morrison said the latest estimates for sales tax alone collected in the city is at around $1.8 million a year.
“Let's hope that continues,” Morrison said.
The board also decided to hold regular meetings on the first Tuesday of every month.
Morrison was appointed to the position by a citizen’s committee headed up by longtime Gluckstadt resident Kerry Minninger and others during the incorporation filing process.
Gluckstadt’s appointed aldermen are Miya Warfield-Bates, John Taylor, Jayce Powell, Wesley Slay and Lisa Williams, all of whom will initially serve in at-large capacities.
At this time, all city officials are serving their duties without pay.
Those in attendance during Tuesday’s meeting included Gluckstadt residents and business owners as well as special guests State Rep. Jill Ford, Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler, Chancery Clerk Ronny Lott and Madison County Chancery Judges Cynthia Brewer and James Walker.
Walker, who also presided over incorporation hearings and a full trial, administered the oath of office to the mayor and board.
Morrison presented himself and the board with name plaques for display during meeting.
Minninger read a brief history of the city starting with the first German immigrants to buy land in the area in 1905.
Morrison said that he was reminded of a Benjamin Franklin quote. Franklin was said to have asked after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September of 1787, “What do we have?’
He famously answered, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Morrison offered his own take.
“We have a city,” Morrison said. “If we can build it.”
Before the meeting closed, a time for public comment was opened, though no one in attendance decided to speak.
After the meeting, alderman Bates said the meeting was short and quick, lasting less than an hour, but she felt like they got some work done.
Bates said she was quickly recruited into the incorporation effort six years ago when she first moved to Gluckstadt and looked forward to being a leader for the city moving forward. She said she was excited to tackle the work the city board had ahead of them.
Alderman Slay said the meeting “went very well.” He has been a part of the incorporation effort for at least 13 years and said people have been working on it longer than that. He said the effort has received a lot of support, prayer and hard work from the people of Gluckstadt and that it was nice to see that had paid off.
“We had a very good turn out and I think that a reflection that the people want this,” Slay said. “We have a lot of work to do, and we ask for patience and prayer as we work to lay a good solid foundation for the city.”