Supervisors have their first female president

Published 7:27 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Pearl River County has its first female Board of Supervisors president, District V Supervisor Bettye Stockstill.

During Tuesday’s meeting the board elected Stockstill as president and District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen as vice president while tackling other pressing issues.

County insurance renewal was presented by Grady Thigpen of Thigpen Insurance. An adjustment to the Sheriff’s Department insurance policy will have the county paying a higher premium but the deductible will be cut in half.

Grady Thigpen said the premium for the Sheriff’s Department will now be about $3,000 more but the deductible for the department is 50 percent less. General county liability and property coverage remained the same. The board approved the insurance proposal for Sheriff’s Department liability and property coverage and a separate property package policy for general county liability and property from Thigpen Insurance and approved issuing checks for the coverage.

Numerous bids for county repair projects were awarded to the lowest bidders. The Bill Watson Memorial Ball Field repairs were awarded to Hensley R. Lee Contracting for $56,444; the McNeill Ball Field repair work was awarded to Industrial Environmental Management for $45,150; the Walkiah Bluff Water Park and McNeill Walking Track repair work was awarded to Industrial Environmental Management for $13,530, and the Pearl River County Maintenance Barn repairs were awarded to Industrial Environmental Management for $14,520.

A small problem with a small business park, Alex Park off of Miss. 43 North, arose when the owner applied for a permit for expansions to the building. Brooks Wallace with Dungan Engineering told the board that the building is using septic systems on one acre of land. Pearl River County Utility Authority rules state that any building within 2,000 feet of a community water service must hook up to that service. The business park is within that range. Wallace said the building was approved back in 1998 to function as it has, but the additions are posing the problem. If the business owner decides to hook to the City of Picayune’s water and sewer system, the owner would have to foot the bill for it. Thigpen said it could cost the business owner or developer in excess of $35,000 to hook the business to Picayune’s water and sewer services.

Supervisor Danny Wise said in order to avoid impeding development in the county the board should consider being more lenient in instances such as these. When sewer and water infrastructure is installed closer to buildings that use septic tanks, such as next to this business, then the business would be required to hook up to it. No action was taken on the matter at that time since the board wanted to talk to the Utility Authority first.

The board approved keeping all existing employees on the payroll. Board attorney continues to be Nova Carroll, Adrain Lumpkin is County Administrator, David Earl Johnson is bookkeeper, Dungan Engineering continues as county engineer, Mike Mitchell will oversee the daily operations of the Road Department, Bobby Strahan will manage fires and emergency situations as the County Fire Coordinator, Anita Sumrall continues as purchase clerk, Gail Dedeaux is receiving clerk and John Sherman is inventory clerk.

The board announced some work plans for Ridge Road. Wallace said some right of way issues are being worked out so some minor work can be done with striping and signs. Robert Thigpen said plans are in the works to connect Ridge Road to Highway 603.

The board also went into executive session on personnel matters in the Building Division and E-911 Addressing and pending litigation. Lumpkin said no action was taken on the personnel matter but the board was able to settle the pending litigation matter with MRH Environmental for work done to Chimney Square after Hurricane Katrina. He said the company tried to do some work to the building such as dry it out but most of the efforts were unsuccessful. The board and the company came to an agreement on the unsettled bill, Lumpkin said.

In other business the board:

— Accepted partial payment for taxes from Colonial Pipeline.

— Approved subdivision of a parcel with new easement of access for land owned by Hensley Lee.

The next board meeting is at 9 a.m. Jan. 16 in the Pearl River County Courthouse in Poplarville.