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EOC temp location okayed

After almost a year of having only a trailer for an office, the Emergency Management Office has been given approval to rent a more secure temporary location.

Emergency Management Director Bobby Strahan met with the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors on Monday to discuss securing a more suitable temporary location for his office. The temporary trailers he has been using since Hurricane Katrina are not suitable to ride out a storm, Strahan has said in previous meetings.

Strahan said he found a way to have communication equipment secured at the temporary location on Mississippi 26, about a mile outside of Poplarville near Wheat’s Home and Building Center, at a reasonable cost and the owner of the building has offered a $100 discount on rent. Board president Danny Wise wanted to know if there was some kind of reimbursement for renting the temporary building, but Strahan said he did not find any to get help with the cost of the rent.

To Strahan, hurricane season does not begin until August so he would like to get in the building before then. The board approved setting up the temporary communications system for the newly rented building after the idea of purchasing the building failed.

“I think we just need to give a big ‘hoo rah’, we finally got us a building,” said District V Supervisor Bettye Stockstill.

Residents of the county who would like to use some of their Hurricane Katrina downed timber for building can now hire an inspector through the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau, said Pearl River County Chief Building Inspector Kirk Pichon. The lumber would need to be processed through a saw mill and be laid out in such a way as to make inspection easy for the inspectors, according to an e-mail to the building department. Cost for inspection depends on the amount of lumber and time it takes to inspect, the e-mail states. Details can be found at http://www.spib.org/certificateinspection.shtml?/lumberservices. Charges generally run between $350 and $650 to inspect enough lumber to build an average size home, Pichon said. Pichon is working with the company to see about training some county employees to perform the service, he said.

Permit and building activity have increased dramatically in the county since the storm, said Harold Holmes, director of Planning and Development. In the past six months there were 301 mobile home permits issued compared to last year’s six-month figure of 125, Holmes said. There were 443 new home permits in the past six months, compared to last year’s six-month figure of 161, Holmes said. More permits also have been issued in other requiring them, except for permits for commercial buildings, he said.

The cost permits is expected to go up with the implementation of building codes, Pichon said. Those increases are warranted because inspections cost money to perform, the building inspector said. Before there were building codes in the county, inspections were not conducted, he said. Now, the size and the use of the building will determine how much a permit will cost, Pichon said.

Positive effects will come from the building codes such as better fire department ratings, which lead to lower insurance premiums, District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen said.

Road work needs to be conducted on Ridge Road behind the Picayune Wal-Mart. There needs to be a meeting between city and county officials before the work starts to work out details to improve with efficiency on the project. A meeting will be set in the future to begin negotiations.

A lot of communication lines have been, and are being, buried since the storm and there are no maps to help county maintenance personnel avoid the lines. Wise requested that Dungan Engineering find a way to draw up a map of all the lines buried in the county, both communication and utility. This will help maintenance workers keep from cutting them while work is in progress, Wise said.

With all the new building in the county, Thigpen was curious how the county was going to keep up with roads in the subdivisions when there is no money being generated for them at this time.

Holmes said about the only way to fix the problem would be to raise subdivision fees because impact fees are illegal in Mississippi.

“It’s a tremendous problem here because we have growth here and roadways are not sufficient,” Holmes said.

Thigpen suggested the board look into an alternative way to collect more money for county needs. The board will investigate the matter further.

The board went into executive session on personnel matters and approved personnel changes in the road department after coming out.

In other matters, the board:

— Approved submitting a purchase order for the fairgrounds

— Authorized board president to sign a receipt of Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reimbursement check.

— Approved submitting a purchase order for the fairgrounds.