City workers cleaned private land

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Gautier City Manager Sidney Runnels confirms that public money was spent without the City Council's knowledge to clean up private land being considered for a new fire station.

The Mississippi Press reports that City Attorney Bob Ramsay will ask State Auditor Stacey Pickering whether the city should be reimbursed and whether Runnels should be punished.

Runnels says he had city workers remove brush and trash to clear a path for an environmental assessor, surveyor and appraiser.

He says this was after the council unanimously approved $5,000 in non-refundable earnest money for $170,000 parcel, and the cleared area was a small part of the eight-acre lot.

On Tuesday, the board voted to have Runnels and Ramsay negotiate for two other lots adding up to 1.5 acres and $60,000.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)