By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Pearl River County’s Board of Supervisors discussed issues of economic development, road maintenance and allowing the county hospital to take out a line of credit to ensure payroll is funded.
During Wednesday’s meeting the board heard from County Engineer Les Dungan who informed supervisors the site certification report has been completed before the deadline at the end of this month. Dungan said the report will allow any interested business looking to relocate to the area to get all the information it will need in order to develop the 2,400 acres of private land in the county in the McNeill area. Board member Anthony Hales said the county has worked out an agreement with the landowner to sell the land at a reasonable price should a buyer come along.
A section of Sycamore Road near the intersection with West Union Road is in a major state of disrepair. County Road Manager Mike Mitchell said he received reports of large dump trucks from the Gulf Coast region using the road to transport heavy loads of gravel, leading to the road’s problems.
Without signs placed along the road designating its weight limit Mitchell said the Mississippi Department of Transportation can not enforce weight limit laws on the road. The road is a state aid road, but the section in the worst state of repair has base failures and is not eligible for the state aid in its current condition, Mitchell said.
The estimates to fix just the base failures are between $46,000 to $84,000 for the 3,000 feet of roadway. Then it will cost about $58,000 to pave the road with asphalt, Mitchell said.
“Nothing is cheap about asphalt and roads. And people wonder why we can’t get them all fixed,” Mitchell said.
Dungan said about a mile of that road does not meet state aid specifications, meaning the county can’t receive funding from the state to keep the road in good shape. That leaves the county to foot the bill.
In order to bring the road up to state aid specifications, the county will need to address poor drainage issues caused by a lack of ditches, and the weak base. While the state will provide funding to maintain the road once the specifications have been met, the county will be responsible for obtaining right of way to get the work done. Dungan said there are property owners along the route resistant to letting the acquisition of right of way take place in part due to the number of large oaks that line the road.
The board approved a motion to go out for bids to get the base failures repaired.
Steve Vaughan, administrator of the Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home, addressed the board about seeking a line of credit with Hancock Bank to ensure funds are not overdrawn when payroll is due. Vaughan said the issue is with how Medicaid and Medicare reimburse the hospital, which sometimes is a few weeks off from when payroll is due. In order to avoid overdraft fees in the payroll account Vaughan asked the board to allow the hospital to acquire $300,000 in credit from the bank, which would be paid back in a timely manner to avoid interest fees.
Board attorney Joe Montgomery advised Vaughan to have his board’s attorney draw up a resolution to present to supervisors at their next meeting. Hales said the line of credit would be paid for using hospital funds, not county funds.
The board went into executive session to discuss personnel and jail inmate phone service. While personnel issues are not public record, Hales said when the board entered into open session again, a motion was approved to award the contract for jail inmate phone service to Inmate Phone Services LLC.
In other business the board;
— Accepted $366,000 in MEMA reimbursement for damage at the county courthouse during Hurricane Katrina.
— Approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Poplarville to house city prisoners in the jail at Millard.
The next meeting is set for May 6, at 9 a.m.