Board appoints Building Code advisory committee

Published 8:46 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors appointed a Building Code advisory committee at its meeting on Monday.

District I Supervisor and Board President Anthony Hales said the board wanted to address the concerns of the people of the county about the building codes and felt the best way to do that would be to form a committee.

“We wanted to try to see if we could help make this thing smooth and appoint a committee to get the building codes, go through them, and see if they can come up with recommendations that everyone feels like they can live with,” Hales said.

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Hales appointed Curt Stasny, District II Supervisor Charles Culpepper appointed Malcolm Perry, District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday appointed Marcia Johnson, District IV Supervisor Patrick Lee appointed Durwin Whitfield and District V Supervisor Sandy Smith appointed Reese Moody.

The board also heard from Chief Building Inspector Kirk Pichon about a plan to start licensing for subcontractors and others who may be doing construction or building work within the county. Pichon told the board that Pearl River Community College was originally supposed to do the testing and licensing, but that he was told the college was unable to get the computers set up for the testing.

Pichon said his department has developed their own test that will be administered to anyone who is not currently licensed by the state of Mississippi or by the International Code Council. Pichon said he would like the test to be administered on the second Wednesday of every month at the Emergency Management Building in Poplarville. The test would then be graded by either the Board of Appeals or the Building Department office. A fee structure would need to be set up, Pichon said, but he would like to see the test free for Pearl River County residents if possible.

“What are we going to do, take their license away if they do shoddy work? And not let them work in Pearl River County? We haven’t seen that on a state level,” Holliday said.

“That’s on the state level. People complain to the state all the time, but not a lot is done about it,” Pichon said.

Road Manager Mike Mitchell asked the board about a problem with some county-owned land near the Health Department in Carriere. Mitchell said a developer in the process of building a subdivision had encroached on the county right of way.

“What the man tells me is that he sold five acres to the county to be used for the health department. It was supposed to have been in the deed that he could have access across the property in the back, but it wasn’t in there when he signed it… But I don’t know of anything we can do with that piece of property,” Holliday said.

Smith recommended that the board go look at the property and see what decision would be in the county’s best interests.

Hales and Culpepper said they believed that the developer knew the road crossed county property but that it would be more expensive for him to place the road elsewhere to access U.S. 11 from his property.

The board agreed to review the property and make a decision at a later date.

Sheriff David Allison said efforts are underway to improve the jail, including painting and cleaning and waxing the floors as well as repairing the clothes dryer.

Hales asked Allison about the destruction of jail property by inmates, and what was being done to correct the issue.

“What bugs me is somebody should clearly be able to see damages that are taking place if they are doing their job. I don’t think inmates should be allowed to damage stuff and get away with it. I certainly would like someone to check on the law about destruction and charge these inmates with it if they are caught,” Hales said.

Allison said the sheriff’s department started last week charging inmates when they are caught destroying property, and are also punishing inmates by taking away privileges when property is destroyed.

Holliday asked Allison if the board could come look at the jail and see what is going on. Allison said he has plans to invite the board down once he has made a list of things needed for the jail.

Holliday asked the board to consider holding a workshop with the various school systems within the county, to determine what the schools’ needs are and how best the county can help them.

“We have three school systems in Pearl River County. I would like to see a workshop between city officials, county officials, school board members and school officials. We can’t help them if we don’t get involved to know what their needs are. These schools have to be on a business basis. They come in here and ask for money and we pay it. We have to be involved. We’re responsible for education in this county,” Holliday said.

Hales said he agreed that the county should be more involved with the schools, but said he did not know how to go about it.

“If you can get them to let us in and have input, I’m more than with you,” Hales said.

“They need help to solve their problems, whether they know it or not, and I think they would appreciate us getting involved and caring about it,” Holliday said.

In other business, the board:

— Accepted bids on the county depository and approved BankPlus, First National Bank, Hancock Bank and First Southern Bank as county depositories.

— Approved payment of invoice #9 from Malone Construction for repairs to courthouse roof in the amount of $766.80.

— Approved Govermental Relations Legal Counsel Agreement with Butler, Snow, O’Meara, Stevens and Cannada for legal counsel to the county and lobbying services in Washington, D.C.