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Lake project to be hindered by difference of opinion?

The idea of paying a more than $100,000 bill for wetlands delineation brought about some discussion concerning whether a county lake project should continue.

One of the topics on the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors short agenda was to pay Vittor and Associates for wetlands delineation work they had conducted. That work was in preparation for the Pearl River County public lake project to be constructed in Millard.

The board approved paying for the work that had already been done.

The project was discussed during the previous board’s administration but construction was delayed. District I Supervisor Anthony Hales protected the project when District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday suggested redirecting the remaining funds.

Holliday suggested using funds remaining from the original $250,000 set aside for the wetlands work to help subsidize rising fuel costs in the road department. The reason he gave for suspending any further work on the project was to wait until construction of the lake is close at hand.

“I’m not opposed to building the lake,” Holliday said.

Hales said that he did not want to see Holliday use delaying tactics to keep the project from moving forward. Hales told Holliday to say if he had a problem with the project, to just state that he wanted to kill it. If further work on the project did not take place, there would be no entity willing to fund the actual construction, Hales said.

District II Supervisor Charles Culpepper said he thought it was a good project and potentially could be a money maker for the county.

“We’re not in the lake business. We’re not in the cabin renting business,” Holliday said.

Holliday made a motion to suspend spending any more money on the project. His motion died for lack of a second.

John Stuckey, development director of the United Nations Development office in Jackson, presented a Mississippi Development Authority application for work force housing. The housing is slated to be built in Red Hill Estates off Jackson Landing Road. The homes would cater to working families in the $20,000 to $30,000 annual income range.

For the first 15 years, the development company will maintain the subdivision’s infrastructure, he said. Residents will lease their homes during that time and at the end of the 15 years will have the option to purchase the homes. Stuckey said 45 homes are planned for construction under the plan.

The board approved Stuckey’s request to sign the MDA application.

Another housing opportunity was presented to the board concerned the HOME Grant Program. Bobby Rayburn said the program could provide $25,000 to ten eligible residents to help with the purchase of a new home. The grant is for newly constructed homes only, Rayburn said. Rayburn was requesting site changes in and around Picayune, which the board approved.

More information about the program is available by calling Rayburn at 601-856-1761 or Larry T. Johnson at 601-264-1912.

County election commissioners presented a plan to consolidate some voting precincts in an effort to make voting more accessible. Each election commissioner presented his or her idea on how consolidating respective voting districts would not only save the county money, but in most cases provide residents better voting opportunities.

Complaints have included crowded or distracting polling places, inadequate access for the handicapped and child safety. Commissioners said the Skate Station was congested while children were skating, many precincts were not handicapped accessible and schools were not a good place to vote.

“It would be a perfect time for a person with bad thoughts in his mind to do things at a school,” said Beat II Commissioner Margaret Woodson.

Cost also was a factor. Circuit Clerk Vickie Harriel said it costs the county between $35,000 and $40,000 to put on an election. The proposed consolidation could save the county an average of $3,000 per voting day just by reducing the number poll workers needed, said District IV Commissioner Bobby Robbins.

Board members said they would take the recommendations into consideration.

Pearl River County’s cleanup day is nearing. Sign up sheets and additional information will be available at the Emergency Management Operations’ booth during Poplarville’s Blueberry Jubilee on Saturday, June 14, said Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters in the Emergency Operations Center. County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said no action was taken on the matter.

In other action, the board:

— Approved the preliminary plat for Southern Oaks Subdivision off Miss. 43 S.

— Approved making personnel changes in the sheriff’s department part of the minutes.

The next board meeting is at 9 a.m. Monday, June 9.