In a special called meeting today, Mayor Johnny Dupree put before council his plans to partner the City of Hattiesburg with Febreze International to address the city's waste water related stench. The plan will cost taxpayers $18,600 to retrofit two mosquito insecticide trucks with fragrance ionizers to discharge "New Car Scent" Febreze fragrance throughout the city of Hattiesburg.
Also included in the agenda were the installation of 11 state of the art "stenchometers" across the city. The stenchometers are advanced olfactory meters which register the level of bad odor from 0 to 10 in a given area. The devices report levels via cellular signal to the public works department. Once devices alert officials to high levels of odors, trucks will be dispatched to the hot zones for treatment. The funding for installing the stenchometer would come from a Federal Homeland Security Grant, since the devices could also detect poisons in the air.
The two items were unanimously approved by the city council; however, there was some debate over the fragrance that would be used. Bradley, Carroll, and Dryden voted to use "White Linen' as the official fragrance of Hattiesburg, but the vote was quickly vetoed by the mayor in favor of "New Car Scent" fragrance. When asked about the veto Dupree said, "I just couldn't get the entire community behind the 'White Linen' fragrance."
Carlos Wilson a Dupree supporter, community activist, and Pastor with the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church couldn't support "White Linen" saying,
"I don't like anything white and won't even eat white rice. But I do like brown rice."
The mayor felt strongly that "New Car Scent" was the way to go, and the fragrance would attract jobs to Hattiesburg. Dupree told media,
"We are looking at recruiting auto manufacturers as well as used car lots. Hattiesburg smelling like a new car is very attractive to these industry segments. Besides, who doesn't like the smell of a new car?"
Dupree went on to say,
"I want to hear from the citizens, and there is a hotline setup for people to call and comment about the"New Car Scent Program."
Councilman Kim Bradley told the Hattiesburg Patriot,
"This is ridiculous. I don't agree at all with the 'New Car Scent' fragrance. Hattiesburg will be the laughing stock of the state! What city smells like a car, even if it is a new one? This idea is almost as bad as the Fart Carnival."
Bradley stated that Council is looking at ways to override the veto and get 'White Linen' as Hattiesburg's official scent. The program is the first environmental move the Mayor has made since being appointed to the EPA's Advisory Committee.