THE INDEPENDENT NEWS
COURTHOUSE — City staff presented members of the city council with a plan for oyster restoration last month, following a review finding that for years resolutions funding restoration efforts had been approved while citing a plan that wasn’t on paper.
It’s on paper now, and the city council is expected to formally adopt it today.
Officials have said there was no inappropriate use of funds, but the matter received media coverage following a critical memorandum by the city auditor raising questions about oversight and oyster shells stored for several years in a city landfill.
“A casual reader of the paper would think something nefarious was going on,” City Councilmember John Uhrin, who represents the Beach District, said during a meeting on Tuesday, June 14.
He said the city council should formally adopt the plan.
“Agreed,” said City Councilmember Amelia Ross-Hammond, who represents the Kempsville District.
On Tuesday, June 21, the city council was scheduled to consider approving $60,091 in funding for the oyster shell recycling effort, but members of the body during a discussion of its agenda seemed hesitant to again approve funds before the plan was adopted.
“I think it would be wise that we first adopt the plan,” City Councilmember John Moss, at large, said.
“Does anyone object to that?” Mayor Will Sessoms asked.
“So you want to defer,” Vice Mayor Louis Jones asked.
“Until we have the plan,” Moss said.
All of the matters may be considered together today at City Hall, according to a meeting schedule.
The plan, which was dated Thursday, June 9, was prepared by the city environment and sustainability office.
It “formalizes what has been an ongoing city program and plan since March 2001,” according to the report.
“I was very pleased with the plan,” said Lyndon Remias, the city auditor, during an interview.
“The most important thing was … to formalize and document the plan so when they refer to the plan we have something tangible.”
Remias said the next step is to ensure the plan is properly executed.
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