Round the clock jail health services

Published 7:45 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Inmates held in the county jail soon may have access to 24-hour health care, which could ensure inmates take the medication they are prescribed and could get any emergency care that may arise.

Sheriff Joe Stuart brought the proposal to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors during its Monday morning meeting. In order to meet criteria for jail certification, Stuart said the jail needs a separate place to hold the trustee inmates and needs to be able to provide 24-hour medical care to all inmates. One company Stuart contacted gave him a quote of about $500,000 a year to provide care to all the inmates currently held there. Stuart said that includes inmates from Pearl River and Hancock counties along with the state and federal inmates. County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said that since there are other inmates held at the jail, Pearl River County would not be solely responsible for the $500,000 bill and that the price includes all medication prisoners receive.

If the county decides to go with the proposal, a registered nurse will be on staff at all times and a medical doctor will check the records once a week, Stuart said.

Chief Deputy Julie Flowers said that if the jail can attain certification, the county may be able renegotiate the daily holding fee for federal prisoners to about $50 a day.

District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said he would like to see the medical services use local pharmacies and hospitals to help provide care to the inmates. No board action was taken.

Stuart also introduced the county’s new litter control officer, Ashley Lambert. Lambert said he will look littering in the county, including waste haulers who do not properly secure their loads.

District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen said he has received complaints from residents asking why mowing crews and litter pick-up crews do not coordinate their efforts to pick up trash before mowers shred it into lots of small pieces. Thigpen said the county does coordinate their efforts but litter is tossed on the sides of roads every day.

Hales suggested the coordination should also be with some residents of the county.

“We’re not coordinating with the people throwing it out,” Hales said.

Visible addresses on homes in the county helps emergency services work smoothly, so the board discussed a way to help residents properly label their homes. Hales suggested furnishing the materials residents would need to label a new address when they file at the E-911 Addressing Office. That identification will help emergency vehicles find addresses faster and more easily.

District II Supervisor Danny Wise said E-911 funds could be used for that purpose. No action was taken on the matter.

Voting precincts had limited staffing problems in past elections. To solve the problem, county election commissioners proposed combining some precincts to reduce the number of precincts and reducing the need for more poll workers. Each election commissioner asked to combine at least two precincts into one and some wanted to combine multiple precincts so there were four less than before.

Adora White, District I Commissioner, proposed combining Whitesand beat 1 and Poplarville beat 1, dropping her total of five precincts to four.

District 2 Commissioner Margaret Woodson wants combine many precincts to drop the number of precincts in her district from nine to four or five, but five would be more in feasible. District 4 commissioner Bobby Robbins would like to combine beat four Picayune east and Picayune west to have four instead of five. Hilda Owen, District 5 Commissioner, would like to combine McNeill with Carriere to give her district five instead of six. The board decided to discuss the matter further at their next meeting.

The Geographic Information System mapping begins soon, providing high quality aerial maps for county use. Les Dungan with Dungan Engineering said while the new maps are going to be higher quality than those previously done with film, the cities will have higher resolution than the rest of the county. Dungan said the digital process to be used in the mapping process will map the cities at 100 resolution while the rest of the county will be mapped at 200 resolution. The process will be funded by state legislature and will encompass the six coastal counties, Dungan said.

In other business the board went into executive session on personnel matters in Justice Court and possible litigation with Waste Management. When they came out they approved personnel changes in Justice Court and the Road Department.

The board also;

— Authorized board president to sign a request of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program project 594-001 for $29,732.

— Approved reimbursement of $170 to Kirk Pichon for passing his Coastal Construction and Floodplain Inspector Exam, which he paid for.

— Approved Gulf Coast women’s center quarterly report and approved issuing the center $3,000 for monetary support.

— Approved advertising for proposals of ambulance services since the county’s contract expires in April.

— Approved a $14,418.89 work order agreement from Waste Management and report for December 2006.

— Authorized Dungan to prepare planning specifications for National Resource Conservation Services review of Wildwood Circle and Sammy Joe Road projects.

— Approved interlocal agreement with Picayune and the county for work to be done to Rosa Street.

The board’s next meeting will be 9 a.m. Feb. 5 in the Poplarville courthouse.