RIDGELAND — Aldermen voted Tuesday to table a vote until April on approving a contract to pay the manager of the city’s new farmer’s market following a lengthy executive session. 

Two weeks ago, a motion to pay Gabe Porter $800 per week to run the True Local Market died for lack of a second. This week, Porter returned to aldermen with a more comprehensive plan, including how some of the money would be used to market the farmer’s market. 

Nonetheless, aldermen voted 5-2 to table the item until April after a committee made up of members of the chamber of commerce, the tourism board, Jackson Street business owners and other members of the community has been formed and consulted on the subject of the market as a whole.

After an executive session, Mayor Gene McGee said that he recommended they vote to approve the contract.

Ward  2 Alderman Chuck Gautier said that there were some changes discussed in executive session that he would like to see put into place, but he was ready to approve the contract if those changes were made.

Ward 6 Alderman Wesley Hamlin seconded the motion saying he was “willing to give it a shot” contingent on Porter agreeing to give monthly updates and progress reports from the market.

Gautier’s motion died after Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard offered a substitute motion, the approved motion to table the item until April. Alderman Bill Lee and D.I. Smith seconded that motion almost simultaneously.

“In the interim, I would like to form an ad hoc committee made up of members of tourism, the chamber and Jackson Street merchants to get some input on how we should plan and promote this event moving forward,” Heard said.

McGee replied, “We can get that together. I can get you some input real quickly.”

McGee added that he thought it was “a shame” that the process had been dragged out and reminded aldermen that they spent money on legal fees to rewrite a contract that did not receive a vote from lack of a second. The failed item was also presented by Alderman Gautier.

“This is a good bit of money and we have a fiduciary responsibility to the city to make sure it is spent in a way that benefits the city and its citizens,” Ward 4 Alderman Brian Ramsey said.

After the meeting, McGee added, “A lot of people are very interested in this working out. It is something the city has been looking at for years and the reality is you just can’t do it right without some type of investment.”