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Board mulls insurance proposals

Problems getting insurance claims settled have prompted the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors to consider letting another company take the reins as their insurance broker.

Last week Fox Everett Insurance Agency representative Greg Cullom approached the board about letting the company be their insurance broker. The board did not want to make a decision without approaching their current insurance broker first however, Thigpen Insurance.

“We can’t keep raising taxes in this county to pay for insurance,” said District III Supervisor Larry Davis.

In the recent past, the county has had problems wtih the insurance company keeping it up on how claims are progressing, said Johnny Sherman. Grady Thigpen, owner of Thigpen insurance said the reports are available but they have not been requested.

Cullom said that Fox Everett can represent Zurich, the current policy holder for county wide insurance. Both Thigpen and Cullom said that is would be in the best interest of the county to stay with Zurich since they are currently in the middle of hurricane season. However Thigpen Insurance is more directly involved with Zurich.

“I think it would be better for ya’ll for me to quote for Zurich when it comes up at the next vote,” Thigpen said.

“We want to come up with the best deal for the tax payers money,” Wise said.

When asked what the cost to the county would be, Cullom said that the cost would be included in their premium or could be left out and paid separately, but either way the county will still have to pay for their services as with any insurance broker.

“That’s what we’re taking about are the services,” Cullom said. “You’re already paying for it but are you getting it?”

Further research will be conducted before the board makes a decision on the matter.

Even in the year 2006, there are still miles of dirt or gravel roads in Pearl River County, and some residents are tired of waiting for what appears to be a simple thing to come their way.

For the past 14 years Cynthia Champagne has lived on a dirt road named El Shaddai. Initially, hers was one of three families on the road. Today the road is still dirt and there are 18 families who live on the road with two more homes being planned or built, Champagne said. The increased traffic kicks up even more dirt and dust, causing her to have to clean more often and she dreads doing yard work, Champagne said.

“We have so much traffic that we can’t even work out in the yard without being dusted,” Champagne said.

Champagne asked the board when she could expect to have her road paved or surfaced. Board president Danny Wise said that during each term a supervisor sets a four-year road plan for roads they hope to surface. The county has about 1,100 miles of county public roads the county maintains, Wise said. However, Pearl River County still has about 30 miles of dirt or gravel roads, he said.

As a temporary remedy, the board will ask Road Manager Mike Mitchell to have some of his personnel put out gravel on the road.

Paving the road at this time is not economically viable with the high cost of asphalt, District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen said. He said to pave about a mile of road with asphalt would cost about $50,000 and county only has about $300,000 in the yearly budget for paving. El Shaddai and its branch roads equal to about two miles of road way.

“We’re asked to do so much with so little,” Thigpen said.

On another road matter, Mitchell said his department needs two more bush hogs to help keep grass around the county maintained.

“All I need is six goats and a goat herder,” District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said.

The board approved Mitchell’s equipment request and his personnel changes.

In other business, the board went into executive session before going to lunch for pending litigation and personnel. No decisions were made afterwards. Later in the afternoon, the board went into executive session again for pending litigation with decisions on approving six sites for a LSVP project program, and approved a motion to award the lowest and best bid for bleachers for the fairgrounds contingent upon a satisfactory response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Also in other business the board;

— Approved adding Byrus Hurt Road to county road list.

— Approved changing two private roads to driveways, Carter Lane and McGowan Lane, since the number of structures on each road was reduced to two or less.

— Authorized board president to sign Mississippi Development Authority Grant agreement for project in the amount of $610,782 with no match needed.

— Authorized board president to sign a $19,004 Hazard Mitigation grant and quarterly report for the Pearl River County Building Code Enforcement Project.

— Approved Sept. 4 as a county holiday for Labor Day.

— Approved travel for two supervisors to go to the Mississippi Association of Supervisors for a county workshop in Natchez Oct. 9-11.

— Approved Anita Sumrall and Cindy Lee to travel to Public Employees Retirement System training seminar Sept. 18 in Hattiesburg.