Board asks for higher taxes and court house repairs

Published 5:54 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Additional funds are needed to for additional infrastructure, which may mean additional taxes, and additional repairs are needed to the aging courthouse in Poplarville.

The county requires more funds to support the additional infrastructure required because of the additional population. To get the extra money the county needs the county Board of Supervisors will submit a resolution to the state asking for a one percent sales tax increase in the county. The additional tax will be collected by the state and sent to the county, if approved. The additional money could be used to fund road work, law enforcement and fire protection among oter necessities. District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen suggested the board adjust the resolution so that law enforcement and fire protection top the list, with road work and other needs following. The board approved submitting the resolution, with the changes, to the state legislature for its approval.

The county courthouse should see some restoration work in the near future. The board approved a motion to advertise for bids to re-roof the building. Later in the meeting, Support Staff Specialist for Poplarville schools Louise Smith told the board of a grant the could help pay for additional repairs to the building. The grant program is through the Department of Archives and Historyand has a 80/20 matching rate, Smith said.

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“I think it would be worth investigating,” Smith said.

Board president Danny Wise asked Smith to look into the grant for the county. If it looks feasible, the board will hire her to draw up the grant proposal.

Les Dungan of Dungan Engineering presented a proposal for a land swap between the county and city of Poplarville. The board asked board attorney Nova Carroll to examine property appraisals to evaluate the transaction before the process moves forward.

Debris cleanup in the county will continue on a limited basis to ensure there are no remaining projects. Gov. Haley Barbour said the state will cover nine percent of the remaining 10 percent the Federal Emergency Management Agency would not fund, said County Administrator Adrian Lumpkin. The board approved a motion for county expenses not to exceed $10,000 during the remainder of debris cleanup.

Road work for U.S. 11 is top on Thigpen’’s agenda. He wants to have every elected official in the county sign a resolution to submit to the state to get the major road way widened all the way through Pearl River County. The board approved his motion and asked Dungan to draw up the resolution.

Emergency Management Director Bobby Strahan told the board about an alternative way to pump fuel in emergencies. Earlier had he brought the pumps that operate off a 12-volt battery to the attention of the county task force. District I Supervisor Anthony Hales suggests the board stock up on the portable pumps.

“If you get an emergency situation, you’re going to need more than one,” Hales said.

Strahan also reported that the reverse 911 calling system is slated to be operational by early September. The system will be installed Sept. 7 and the next day will be used to train personnel, Strahan said. The system is capable of calling up to 999 phone lines at once to warn county residents of impending danger or emergencies.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Julie Flowers asked the board for seven more bullet proof vests to issue to the department’s seven new deputies. Thigpen made the motion to go ahead and purchase the vests and check on reimbursement later.

The board has been having difficulty securing copies of keys to volunteer fire departments used as voting precincts. Tthe board approved a motion to request an inventory list, and the keys, from those departments and hold Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reimbursement funds to those departments until the request is fulfilled.

The board went into executive session once for personnel and economic development and another time for economic development. When they came out of the first executive session for personnel, they approved hiring an additional staff member in the E- 911 addressing office. No action was taken after the second executive session.

With the adoption of the county wide building codes came county junk yard ordinances, said Chief Building Inspector for the county Kirk Pichon. Now, if a resident’s yard has grass growing too high or inoperable vehicles in their yard, the department has the authority to evaluate the situation and issue citations, Pichon said. If the property is not brought up to code with in a certain time period, then additional citations will be issued each day until the violation is corrected, Pichon said.

Real Estate and personal property rolls were equalized by the board. Objections will be addressed at the Aug. 7 board meeting in the county courthouse at 9 a.m. The land rolls are available for public viewing in the courthouse board room.

The county is still trying to collect full reimbursement from FEMA, and so far the board has received 71 million of the 104 million that has been obligated to them, Lumpkin said.

— Authorized board president to sign National Resource Conservation Services documents on Hurricane Katrina erosion control.

— Approved payment of invoices for RK Wallace for repair to the Pearl River County Jail and Guaranteed Roofing for emergency roof repairs to the county courthouse.

— Authorized Lumpkin to sign reimbursement receipts from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

— Placed payment of an invoice for Camp Dresser and McGee for FEMA map modernization on the docket.

— Approved adding the public defender secretary to the county insurance plan.

— Approved increase in salary for court reporter who serves five counties. Pearl River County’s portion of the court reporter’s salary will be 28 percent.

— Accepted Dungan Engineering invoices for right of entry inspections and debris removal and disposal.

— Approved preliminary plat for Flint Farms subdivision Phase I.

— Approved final plat for North Hill Phase IV.

— Approved TAB Company’s request of current tax maps provided they supply the county with 10 copies of the maps they will draw up with the information provided by the county.