County to receive funding for three new shelters

Published 3:55 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bobby Strahan, director of the Pearl River County Emergency Management Agency, told the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors Tuesday that plans are being made for three new emergency shelters in the county.—

Strahan said there will be an 11,000 square-foot shelter built in Picayune, an 87,000 square-foot shelter in Carriere that will be tied in with Pearl River Central’s proposed new elementary school, and a 10,000 square-foot shelter in Poplarville. The shelters will be funded 100 percent by a federal grant of $8.7 million.

“Every grant we have applied for, we have either closed it out or have met the requirements for closing it out. Plus, the other things that we have done, all the codes that have been adopted, it’s all coming in to play now. … This is some of the benefit that’s coming out of that. This is something this board has worked with me to get this done,” Strahan said.

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District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said the county has received other grants by complying with federal requirements, and that the county would not have received as much federal funding as it has without its compliance.

“If you don’t comply with the federal guidelines, you don’t get the federal money,” Strahan said.

“We cannot afford these things on our own,” Hales said.

Strahan used the shelter grant as an example, and said if it was a grant for 75 percent of the cost, it would cost the county over $2 million, but because of the county’s compliance with federal guidelines, it qualifies the county to receive a 100 percent grant.

“If a new board comes in and wants to do away with some of the building codes or something like that, could the county be asked to pay these grant funds back?” asked District V Supervisor and Board President Bettye Stockstill.

Strahan said yes, that if the county were to no longer be in compliance with the federal guidelines, the federal government could ask for some of the grant monies back that have already been paid to the county.

The board also acknowledged receipt of a letter from the Mississippi Development Authority that said the county had qualified for $2.6 million in grant funds.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the county would put the grant money towards the Chimney Square project in Picayune.

“We are over $2 million short on the building in Picayune, so that’s what it’s being specified for. If FEMA comes back and gives us more money for that building, then we can designate this other money for something else,” Lumpkin said.

Planning and Development Director Harold Holmes asked the board to let Bettye Stockstill sign restrictive covenants for 117 Westchester Dr. in Picayune. Holmes said the county used federal money to purchase the property to assist the owner in getting out of a repetitive flood zone. The restrictive covenants will prevent the property from being used as residential property in the future.

The board also voted to pay a total of $34,193 poll workers for the run-off election. Lumpkin said approximately $85,000 was spent on the two primary elections.

In other business, the board:

— Rejected trustee dormitory bids and plan to readvertise.

— Signed an agreement for reimbursement by MEMA of $210,662.42 of fire department money.

— Authorized execution of 2007-2008 Adolescent Offender Program Grant.

— Authorized execution of lease purchase agreement for new dump trucks with BancorpSouth.

— Filed injunction to close an illegal dump site at Wheat’s Curve.

The board recessed until 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 10.