Pinero says department is moving forward

Published 12:32 am Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pearl River County Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero says things are moving forward in both his department and the Building Division, which he is overseeing until a replacement can be found for former Chief Building Official Kirk Pichon.

In the Building Division, Pinero says inspector Guy Holston has been named Assistant Chief Building Official.

“Guy has been with the county since the inception of the building codes, and he currently holds three inspection certifications. He’s also about to test for his other certifications, and then he’ll be fully certified,” Pinero said.

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Pinero said Holston’s promotion is part of a new effort to encourage inspectors to continue receiving certifications and provide incentives for doing so.

“The board of supervisors recently decided to put current building inspectors on a path of certification… They are going to provide financial incentives for inspectors to become as well-versed in as many certification areas as possible,” Pinero said.

Such financial incentives include the county paying for inspectors to take the licensing exams and increases in pay for each certification received. Pinero said the effort is being made because the board of supervisors wants to reduce financial burdens on the inspectors.

Also in the building division, efforts are being made to cross-train all the employees, so each person in the building department is knowledgeable about using permit software, writing permits and reviewing plans, Pinero said.

The Building Department is also in talks with Pearl River Community College to start educating students about the building codes and plans review.

“I believe PRCC is a great resource for future employees of the building department. I think it’s a great avenue to bring in people to the county work force,” Pinero said.

In the Planning and Development Division, Pinero said all projects and grants begun by the previous administration are still moving forward and in place. Pinero said additional funding for the grant for the building department should be announced later this month, which will provide additional years of funding for building inspectors.

Also, Pinero said all Strategic Plan grants for the county are proceeding as planned.

“(The board of supervisors and I) are currently discussing the strategic vision and direction for us to move forward as a county. These planning sessions will be fully ramped up in the coming months,” Pinero said. Such discussions have occurred through one-on-one meetings and phone conversations and through board meetings, Pinero said.

Pinero said he would like to have public information sessions to find out what visions residents have for the county over the next few months.

“I want to define what citizens want as we come up with a strategic plan. We need to document pathways to future growth, development and potential projects. It needs to be a true blend of ideas of the board of supervisors, elected officials and citizens… We want to be visionary,” Pinero said.

Pinero also is excited about a new county-wide cleanup project that has been proposed by District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday and District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith.

“We’re about to kick off the clean-up effort. Supervisors Holliday and Smith came up with a countywide idea, and we’re getting lots of support. People are calling daily to be involved. We’re setting up a task force and encourage people to let us know they are interested in helping out,” Pinero said.

Pinero said the task force will be a “cross-section of concerned citizens” to provide ideas for cleaning up the county and to decide the best way to act upon those ideas.

“A clean county is part of economic development. It’s one part of the big picture… We need to clean up our homes, our streets, and the homes and streets of our neighbors and friends. That’s how we’re going to be successful,” Pinero said.

Pinero said anyone interested in joining the task force or being involved in the cleanup can contact their supervisors or the Planning and Development Department at (601) 403-2300.