Today, the Mobile City Council approved $383,329 worth of work for Mobile’s Mardi Gras Park. However, the nearly $400,000 won’t be going towards Mardi Gras Park, instead, the money will be used to fix the sidewalks across the street.
The Council was asked to approve the additional funds at today’s City Council Meeting, but the Stimpson Administration gave the go ahead for the work to be done weeks ago.
Crews have been working to repair the sidewalks in front of the history museum for several weeks, according to the Mayor’s office. Councilwoman Bess Rich was frustrated with Mayor Stimpson for not consulting council with this issue.
“I’ve had several contracts come across my desk as a councilwoman, but I have never seen one where the work is not being done on the same site,” Rich said.
The contract says the money is for the Mardi Gras Park and Pavilion, but that’s not where the work or the money is going.
The Mayor’s office said they were under the impression they could act without council’s approval.
“The fact of the matter is that the Mayor has a project here that he has been working on- not only in a public-private capacity, he’s been working with the council to try to complete it. It is an important component to try to complete as part of our Downtown area. He was under the impression from our legal team that he could do this- which meant he was going to save money, it was going to save time and it was going to complete this project by the end of the month,” Stimpson’s Chief of Staff Colby Cooper said.
While the Council did end up approving the funds they say that in the future they expect more transparency from Mayor Stimpson and his staff.
“With this situation here we know that we are trying to get ready for Mardi Gras and get the streets ready for Mardi Gras. I do understand the scope of work but, let’s try to be transparent with the Council and let’s be transparent with the constituents because at the end of the day that’s who we have to answer to,” Councilman CJ Smalls said.