Board looks to provide more county buildings

Published 6:05 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors approved issuing contracts on two large projects and are working on plans with appeal to the needs of all county residents, even those in the south end.

During Tuesday morning’s meeting the board issued contracts for the demolition of Chimney Square and to repair the roof on the county courthouse.

The board also discussed splitting the $4.5 million the county is getting from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the destruction of Chimney Square in Picayune and what it may get from grants the county plans to apply for to help fund the work on two buildings.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

One building is to be built in Picayune to replace Chimney Square. The other will be built in Millard so most county services will be centrally located. County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said Wednesday morning that the county plans to apply for grants from the USDA’s Rural Development and for a Community Development Block Grant.

Discussion revolved around what offices the new Chimney Square would house and what it would look like. Placing a county courtroom in the south end of the county, possibly in Chimney Square, as proposed by District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen met with resistance from District I Supervisor Anthony Hales. Hales’ concern is that there is a county seat in Pearl River but county offices are always requested in the south end of the county.

“I just think you’re trying to move too much,” Hales said.

Hales said that housing courts in Poplarville brings people into the area, maintaining commerce in the town. Thigpen argued that about 75 percent of all the divorces in the county come from the south end of the county, a courtroom there would cater to those needs. Judge Sebe Dale said he would use a courtroom in the south end of the county only if all the people involved in cases on the docket for a given day agreed to attend that courtroom, Chancery Clerk David Earl Johnson told the board.

After hours of on and off discussion by switching topics frequently, the board proposed to locate the driver’s license office, a justice court courtroom, tax office, circuit and chancery court offices and a Sheriff’s Department office in the new building in Picayune. Offices proposed for the Millard building include Department of Human Services, Emergency Operations Center, Department of Corrections, Justice Court, Planning and Development, a Permitting office, Utility Authority and the Adolescent Offender Program. No official action was taken on the proposed office locations.

The board also discussed issues on contracting roof repairs needed for the county courthouse and rebuilding of Chimney Square. David Marsh with Benchmark said that the plan for reroofing the county courthouse would use tapered insulation to give it a slight pitch, which will help keep water on the roof from standing. The roof would have a 20-year guarantee, Marsh said. The board approved issuing the contract for the court house roof repair to E. Cornell Malone Corporation as submitted in the bid hearing. The contract for the demolition of Chimney Square was issued to Industrial Environmental Management.

Marsh said before the new Chimney Square building is built he needs the number of each department’s employees so he can gauge how much square footage each office will need.

Benchmark representative Marsh said his company would like to get paid the $30,000 for the work they did on the county jail in Millard when it was constructed two years ago. Hales voiced his opinion concerning the lack of working lights in the jail. Of about 20 lights, only three work, Hales said. Marsh argued that it was not Benchmark’s fault the lights do not work and their retainage has been held because of someone else’s mishap.

“We just want everything to work the way it should have,” board president Danny Wise said.

“We would like to get paid for what we completed,” Marsh said.

Marsh said the problem was with the electrical engineers.

“And he bought us a bunch of bad damn lights!” Hales said.

Lumpkin said the problem also could be attributed to the manufacturer of the lights.

Thigpen asked Marsh if he would accept the board paying Benchmark their retainage minus the cost of fixing the lights, to which Marsh agreed. The board approved paying Benchmark $24,510 and using the rest to fix the problem with the lights at the jail.

Sheriff Joe Stuart informed the board that Chief Deputy Aaron Russell is currently on leave while he campaigns for a judicial position and Julie Flowers recently went to a class at the National Institute of Corrections School and has taken charge of the jail.

A new walking track will be built in Carriere, next to the rail road tracks on Old Highway 11 at the intersection of Anchor Lake Road and the old highway. Road Department Manager Mike Mitchell said he needs to build a six-foot chain link fence in the area to keep kids away from the tracks. Money to build the fence was given the county by the Norfolk Southern, Mitchell said. The board approved going out for bids on the construction of the fence.

In other business the board, approved going out for bids on four repair projects for the county barn, the concession stand at the McNeill Little League ball field, McNeill walking track building and the Bill Watson Park in Poplarville.

The board meets again at courthouse in Poplarville at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2.