Board defends new three-way stop, accepts repair bids

Published 6:54 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A new three-way stop, bids on repairs of county buildings and possible tax relief for citizens who own property containing a county road were topics of discussion at the meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

Duane Wheat of Picayune addressed the board with concerns about the new three-way stop at the intersection of Henleyfield-McNeill Road and Rock Ranch Road.

“I feel that that would be a catastrophe in the long run,” Wheat said.

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Wheat said people who have been traveling the road for a long time will not be used to the stop, and that it will cause serious accidents at that intersection. Wheat said he wants to make sure more people know about the intersection and the new three-way stop, because he feels that “overall, it’s a bad decision.”

Wheat asked if a survey had been done on the traffic on that road. Brooks Wallace of Dungan Engineering said there were traffic counts done and “based on the site distance from that curve and the volume of traffic that we’ve had, that’s why we thought the stop sign would be the best way to make that intersection safer.”

District II Supervisor Danny Wise said there will be a blinking light above the stop sign for 60 days to warn people of the new stop. Other means of marking the new stop are “three-way stop ahead” signs and three sets of rumble strips approaching from each direction.

Wheat said that he felt the rumble strips are not very good. County Road Manager Mike Mitchell said if needed, he could go back and add more rumble strips.

Wise said, “Both of these are state-aid roads, so the county could not take this upon themselves to decide we wanted to do this. We had to go through the Department of Transportation, and Dungan Engineering handled that communication for us.” Wise also said the Department of Transportation agreed that installing a three-way stop was the best solution.

Wise said action had been requested by residents of the area because of several accidents and near-misses at the intersection.

“If I don’t take that into consideration, then I have a liability in that,” said Wise. “We followed the best guidance that we could in studying this situation. … We had the engineers, we had the road department, we had the Mississippi Department of Transportation involved.”

The board received bids from Hensley Lee Contracting and from Industrial Environmental Management for repairs on the Pearl River Fairground Exhibit Hall buildings, the old Sheriff’s building on Julia Street, the Administration Building on U.S. 11, and the Pearl River County School District office buildings in Carriere.

Consultant Benchmark Construction recommended going with the lowest bidder on each of the bids. IEM’s bid of $25,782 was the lowest on the Administration Building. Hensley Lee’s bid of $64,930 was the lowest on the fairground exhibit hall buildings and his bid of $8,482 was the lowest on the old Sheriff’s office building. Lee’s bid of $98,132 was the only bid for the school district offices.

District III Supervisor Larry Davis said that there are a lot of county roads located on private land, and that the people who own that land are getting taxed for it. Davis said that landowners in other counties get tax reductions, and asked for a motion for the tax department to research the issue.

“I feel like we as a board need to look at this and see just what we have to do to help these people because it affects the taxpayers,” said Davis.

District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said the idea is a good one, but said the same argument could be made on some private roads that were not compliant with subdivision regulations and not accepted by the county. Hales said some of these private roads could now be accepted and that the county could start helping some of the citizens on those private roads.

“I know they are private roads, and I know they are in bad shape, but the subdivision regulations go way back, and I feel like the boards that were in existence at that time that should have been enforcing those regulations let the taxpayers down and you got taxpayers that have been paying taxes for years and they have been living on those bad roads, and their rights should have been protected by those boards,” Hales said.

Gina Ousley, who lives on Robert Road, asked the board about a drainage problem she has been trying to get fixed for two years.

District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen said the county-maintained road stops before you get to Ousley’s property.

Ousley said a right of way had been given to the county years ago, but Thigpen said no record could be found of the right of way. Thigpen said if paperwork showing a right of way could be produced, then the county would maintain the road and repair the drainage problem.

In other business, the board:

— Designated Harold Holmes as primary and Adrain Lumpkin as secondary agents for request from Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

— Considered LiDAR data request and agreed to send letter to City of PIcayune regarding request.

— Approved $43 charge for records from district attorney.

— Approved Scope of Work Information form and authorized publication for Ridge Road zoning project.

— Authorized ambulance agreement with Emergystat and signature of contract by board president.

— Recognized Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department for award received for litter program from Keep Mississippi Beautiful.

The board adjourned until 9 a.m. Monday, May 7.