The city's municipal court will waive the $100 fee for traffic citations and $150 for bench warrants from May 1 through June 30 under an amnesty program for individuals with past due traffic tickets or warrants for failing to appear. According to Police Chief Stan Bradley, research has shown similar programs to be effective in other municipalities.
Bradley said the court's backlog goes as far back as the 1980s and includes "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" of cases.
If an offense requires a court appearance, a future court date will be scheduled. Any required payments must be made at Emerson Municipal Court, 700 Highway 293, and cash, money order or cashier's check are accepted.
The city council also delayed taking action on a long-term lease agreement for the community center.
City Manager Kevin McBurnett said a resident approached the city about leasing the building on Wednesdays and Sundays for an indefinite amount of time. The center would be used for church services on those days.
The city visited the subject of long-term leases in the past, deciding against the idea, according to McBurnett.
Councilman Ed Brush said he was hesitant because the resident could not provide definite dates. Councilman Brenda Tidwell agreed, saying the center was for community use.
In other action, the council approved three annexation and rezoning requests from Mary Martin Johnson and Thomas Johnson for acreage on Old Alabama Road. The three parcels -- 1.231 acres, 2.002 acres and 5.3 acres at 161, 163 and 165 Old Alabama Road, respectively -- will be rezoned from agriculture to residential.
The council also voted to amend the City of Emerson Code of Ordinances Chapter 8 Zoning Article I.