Board moves forward with Smart Growth

Published 1:33 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2008

After more than a month of delaying movement on the Smart Growth Plan, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors finally went against District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday’s wishes and the plan is moving forward.

For some time Holliday has expressed his discontent with the county about the county taking a Mississippi Development Authority grant to develop a growth plan for the county. Every time the topic of forming a smart growth plan comes up, Holliday asks to postpone action on the matter to get more information.

Monday, the matter came up again. District I Supervisor Anthony Hales said that the grant appears to have language allowing the county to establish a plan that would fit the county. Holliday asked for explanations concerning how the smart growth plan would not determine what people could or could not do with their property.

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Hales said the current lack of a plan is continuously putting the burden of county funding on the shoulders of homeowners. The lack of industry, or growth other than residential, is not protecting the interests of the schools or the cities. Hales said the board needs to cater to those interests.

“What would you like Pearl River County to look like 10 to 15 years from now?” Hales asked.

Holliday said he will “never ever” vote to tell people where than can and can not live in the county.

“It is basically zoning in camouflage,” Holliday said.

Holliday admitted that the county needs ordinances, but that those could be established without a plan. He then said he doesn’t want to keep putting the matter off but wants time to come up with objectives.

District IV Supervisor J. Patrick Lee said that the money offered to pay for the plan is not coming directly from the county. District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith backed Lee, stating that if the money is not used by this county then another county will reap the benefits after the 60-day time limit to accept the grant is reached, which is approaching.

“I can tell you now I am against it,” Holliday said.

“We know that, we’ve been hearing that for four weeks now,” Smith said.

Much to Holliday’s dismay, Smith then made a motion to move forward with the grant and Lee seconded it. The motion was approved with all supervisors but Holliday in favor.

A petition against a bond proposed by the board to borrow $3.5 million to pave the remaining 77 miles of public gravel roads in the county was presented to the board. The board acknowledged the petition, which had only about 700 signatures, and then approved a motion to adopt the bond resolution with the protest. Hales said there will not be a tax increase to pay this bond; current tax rates would be used to make the note.

Chief Deputy Shane Tucker presented the board with a request to hire a consultant to come in and help get the jail in order.

Holliday said he would rather hire a top notch warden to come in and run the jail than pay a consultant who would only be there part time.

Tucker said the consultants would be at the jail on a weekly basis to look at the jail and identify problematic employees and make recommendations on those findings. Ultimately, the decision would be up to the sheriff, Holliday said.

The board suggested that the department work out the idea and present it to the board at a later meeting.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters in the road department and relocation of a fence owned by Mark Gipson.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said after the executive session that the board took no action on the personnel matter but instructed Gipson to move a gate on Jeff Smith Road to the end of the public road.

In other business the board;

— Authorized payment number five to Kanduit Construction for the new trustee dormitory at the jail.

The next board meeting will be at 9 a.m. Oct. 13.