Standing dead trees will be removed

Published 9:17 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Removal of standing dead trees, community response to a proposed dump site and a petition for a private road to become a county road were the main topics of discussion at the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday.

Federal Emergency Management Agency debris specialist Carl Sherrer informed the board that Pearl River and Stone counties are eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding for removal of standing dead trees. The county has been asking for this funding for about three months, said County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin.

Sherrer said workers started Monday marking trees all over the county that are eligible to be cut and removed to approved dump and disposal sites. FEMA will reimburse the county’s expenses for removing the standing dead trees as long as it is done by June 30. This will include trees on private and county properties and along county roads, but will not include state roads or the interstate. It also does not allow for stump removal, downed trees or construction or demolition debris.

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Lumpkin said that in the three months since they have been appealing for this funding, the road department has cut more than 160 dead trees, trees have fallen across highways causing accidents and volunteer fire departments have been working at night clearing dead trees. The board declared a state of emergency because of the number of standing dead trees countywide that pose hazards to residents of the county, and a decision was made to start soliciting quotes from contractors for the tree removal.

Brooks Wallace of Dungan Engineering said that more than 4,000 letters will be mailed to county residents who have applied for right-of-entry, along with a postcard they have to return to be considered for dead tree removal from their property. Once the postcards are returned, the property will be evaluated and the property owners will be notified by mail about the eligibility of their property. However, Wallace said, “If they don’t send that card back, they’re not gonna be re-inspected.”

Postcards must be returned by April 20.

Applications for new rights-of-entry will be accepted at the courthouse in Poplarville and at county offices at Church of the Way in Picayune starting later this week, probably Wednesday, said Lumpkin. The offices are open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Wallace said he does not expect a large number of new applications. However, due to time constraints caused by the FEMA deadline, applications will only be accepted through April 30.

Several citizens from the Carriere community were on hand to speak to the board about the petition filed by Hensley Lee to establish a rubbish site between Byrd Road and C.W. Moore Road. Lee held a community forum in the area this past week, after a request by the board that he inform the residents of his plans.

Larry Tatum, representing the residents, said “It feels like it was just dumped in our backyard.” Tatum also said that a lot of people were unaware of Lee’s intentions to put in a rubbish site, and that they are not in favor of the plans.

District V Supervisor and board president Bettye Stockstill said that she was at the community meeting with Lee and after Lee learned the feelings of the community, he was willing to withdraw his petition. Stockstill said that Lee will find somewhere else to put the site.

A motion was made and approved to grant Lee’s withdrawal of his petition.

Also on the agenda was a request from residents on Lake Angie Drive to make that road a county road. The board had tabled the discussion last week after District I Supervisor Anthony Hales recommended that the residents go to the school district and request that the school bus add Lake Angie Drive to its bus routes.

Hales said the school refused to accept the request for the road to be added to the bus route because it does not want to add extra time to the route. The supervisor said that if the road is made a county road, the school will have to add the road to the route.

The board determined that the road is split between districts I and II, and a motion was made and approved for Stockstill and District III Supervisor Larry Davis to go look at the road.

Board Attorney Nova Carroll noted the petition does not have a legal description of the road and said the petitioners will need to put a legal description of the road on the petition.

In other business, the board:

— Acknowledged receipt of proposals from AAA, AMR, and Emergystat to provide ambulance service for the county.

— Accepted proposal from Coast Electric to use county property off Oak Hill Road as a storage area for items such as light poles during the hurricane season.

— Reviewed tentative plans for Chimney Square Building.

— Issued purchase order for $33,932 to buy ESRI software off state contract.

Adjourned until Monday, April 9, 2007.