Board wants to improve fairgrounds, clean up properties

Published 6:08 pm Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors at its meeting on Monday discussed improvements to the county fairgrounds, enforcing property maintenance codes and ordinances and the dispensation of a portion of a private road that was mistakenly built on county property.

Fairground manager Frank Graves said he had met with several different groups to discuss things that need to be changed and repaired at the fairgrounds.

“One of the main concerns is the bathrooms. Everyone wants more bathrooms. I went over and painted them and cleaned them up, but we need to try to get facilities better than what we have over there,” Graves said.

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Other concerns, Graves said, are to have sidewalks built for better handicapped access, divide the show arena where beef and dairy cattle can be shown at the same time, and a better public address system.

“People with horses want roping chutes installed, but we are putting those in as we speak. We have trustees to help, and should have them put in by tomorrow where they can be used,” Graves said.

Graves said those with horses also requested that horse stalls be installed that can be used to house the horses during the weekend of a show at the fairgrounds also.

“We could probably rent between 80 and 100 stalls during the weekend of a high school rodeo… We’re figuring the county could get somewhere around $10 per stall, but the individuals using the stalls would have to supply their own bedding,” Graves said.

District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday asked Graves how much money the county needed to spend to upgrade the fairground facilities and how much the newer facilities will generate.

“Basically, what I want to know is, how much money can we expect to generate so we can know how much we can spend,” Holliday said.

Graves said the cost of the project would depend on how many of the improvements the county wants to make as well as if the county would be able to obtain more land to expand the fairground facilities.

“We need to get someone to help us design this thing and lay it out to where 10 years from now, we don’t look back and wish we had done something different. We need it laid out so we can use it from now on. Once we do it, though, we’ve got it,” Graves said.

Holliday encouraged Graves and the board to take action to proceed with renovations at the fairgrounds.

“We don’t need to still be talking about this in six months. We need to move forward,” Holliday said. “I think a barn is the biggest expenditure we’re talking about, and a barn is a barn. We need some input on it, and where we put it may change, but the basic cost of construction will be for a building on a flat piece of ground and it’s all going to be the same,” Holliday said.

Holliday also mentioned he has been getting several calls about pieces of property that have junk and garbage on the property that are blights on the county’s landscape.

“We have an ordinance about this, and I assume it’s enforceable. We have people who have junk piled up almost in the county roads. It’s not a popular thing to enforce, but it’s hurting their neighbors, and we’re just going to have to take a stand on this,” Holliday said.

District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said the county had an ordinance that deals with junkyards and property maintenance ithat s also covered under building code regulations.

Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero said the property maintenance section of the building codes would be applicable to these homes, but the county needs someone to enforce the regulations.

“We had someone to enforce those regulations. We got rid of our code enforcement officer. We did away with that position,” said District IV Supervisor Patrick Lee.

The board agreed that the property maintenance section of the building codes need to be enforced, but no action was taken. The board asked Pinero to pull copies of the ordinance and the property maintenance sections of the building codes.

Hales asked the board what action should be taken against a citizen who has mistakenly built a private road on county property near the health department in Carriere. Hales said the citizen did not have an easement from the county for the construction of the road.

Holliday said he believed the county should set a price for the property and sell it to the individual.

“I think we ought to figure out what he needs and sell him that property… I believe in live and let live,” Holliday said.

Hales asked if the county was ready to set a precedent.

“Do we set a precedent for people who just go out and put something on property that isn’t theirs so they can just get it afterwards,” Hales asked.

District V Supervisor Sandy Smith said he did not believe the individual was aware the property did not belong to him until it was recently re-surveyed.

District II Supervisor Charles Culpepper made the motion to ask the resident to move the road with no fines or penalties under the assumption that the citizen did not know the property belonged to the county. Smith seconded the motion. The motion passed on a vote of four to one, with Holliday casting the nay vote.

County Attorney Joe Montgomery said the contract for ambulance service is almost completed and should be signed within the week. Montgomery said there were three issues that were still being worked out for the contract, but that he hoped those issues would be worked out within the next day or so.

In other business the board:

— Accepted letter of resignation from building inspector Guy Holston.

— Approved reimbursement of building fees to Ronald Barney and Martha Miles, both of whom are no longer going to build in the county at this time.

— Approved insurance claim check and authorized clerk to issue funds to Crossroads Fire Department.

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