• 61°

Board signs contract with AAA Ambulance

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisor signed a contract for ambulance service with AAA Ambulance at its meeting on Monday.

AAA, which started serving the county last month after AMR’s withdrawal, will provid the county with five ambulances and one sprint vehicle, as well as full access to the Rescue 7 Helicopter, according to the terms of the contract.

After the board meeting, board members met AAA Chief Executive Officer Wade Spruill and other AAA employees to view and ride in the Rescue 7 helicopter.

Spruill said the Rescue 7 helicopter model is the fastest civilian single-engine model made, with a top speed of 150 knots, which arenautical miles per hour, or 172.8 miles per hour as speed is generally understood.

“Rescue 7 can go from Hattiesburg to Birmingham on one fuel load, and makes the trip in just over an hour. We can get from Hattiesburg to Poplarville in 10 minutes, probably faster if we had a tailwind,” Spruill said.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the helicopter and AAA Ambulance service will be a valuable asset to the county.

“We have an advantage by having access to Rescue 7. If you have a serious wreck out at Crossroads or out in the county, they can have you on the helicopter and to the hospital in Hattiesburg before an ambulance could have you here to Poplarville,” Lumpkin said.

District II Supervisor Charles Culpepper was the only supervisor who flew Monday that had not flown in a helicopter before.

“I enjoyed it. It was my first time in a helicopter. I enjoyed it better than going on that plane,” Culpepper said, referring to his flight to Washington last month.

Local resident Ramona Barnes said she is thrilled to have access to Rescue 7.

“It’s most wonderful that we have the helicopter available to the county. We know how important it is for the county and the town, and we’re so very thankful to have it,” Barnes said.

Spruill said the company will come to a future board meeting to give a full presentation about Rescue 7 and its capabilities, but said a definite date had not yet been set.

Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero presented the board with a withdrawal of Guy Holston’s resignation. Holston, a building inspector who turned in his resignation to the board at the previous board meeting, will remain with the county in the capacity of Deputy Building Official, Pinero said.

“He will be assisting whoever we put in the Chief Building Inspector’s position. He will also be placed on a path to complete the remainder of his certification,” Pinero said.

District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday told the board he is in the process of putting together a campaign to emphasize cleaning up the county.

“We’ve all been getting complaints about garbage and trash in the county. … I’ve been trying to think of how we can lead people instead of forcing them with ordinances and such. Just to let ya’ll know, I think I’m going to propose we do a comprehensive, county-wide clean-up campaign. Ask people to clean-up and assist them in cleaning up their property. We need to emphasize how important it is to clean their property,” Holliday said.

Holliday said he has been in talks with the marketing department at Pearl River Community College about a strategy to advertise the clean-up campaign, and the program should be ready to go by the end of the month.

District V Supervisor Sandy Smith was in agreement with Holliday.

“It’s going to be a county and a community effort to do this. We have to get the kids involved, and make it a positive clean-up, not negative. If we keep it positive, instead of negative, I think we’ll get it done,” Smith said.

District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said he knew of several civic organizations that would be willing to help out, and that he supports the clean-up campaign.

Holliday said he recognizes that litter is one issue, but that a bigger issue is junk on private property.

“Litter is certainly an issue, but I go through communities, and I see old junk house trailers and such. That tells me people don’t know how to get rid of them, but there are people out there hauling junk iron every day. We need to help these people. We need to facilitate this clean-up. I went by some property, and on about an acre of land, there were 15 cars, 3 horses, 5 or 6 dogs, and some chickens. If you’re down the road from that, your value is at least a thousand dollars less. … We’ve got to think outside the box and come up with some ways to fix it. I think it’s going to be great, I really do,” Holliday said.

County attorney Joe Montgomery told the board he had been working on a contract with Scott Favre Construction to serve as construction manager on the Pearl River County School Superintendent’s Building, and recommended the board make a motion to sign the contract.

“We worked out the contract, and included language that would provide arbitration in event of a dispute. Also, if corrective work has to be done, it would be reimbursable to him only if the contractor that comes in gets paid additional money for the project,” Montgomery said.

In other business, the board:

The board recessed until 9 a.m. Monday, March 24.