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County prepares to demolish property eyesores

In the continuing effort to clean up Pearl River County, the county’s director of planning and development, Ed Pinero, told the county Board of Supervisors that the number of properties needing to be either cleaned up or demolished had dropped to five, and of those, three were so bad the structures would have to be demolished.

“All have received property maintenance and clean-up letters,” said Pinero yesterday. “Some we are calling for demolition, others for cleaning.”

Pinero said that 15 months ago when the county started Phase II of the county cleanup effort, 87 properties had been targeted through residents’ requests. “We are reactive,” Pinero said. “The citizens will call and ask if we will look at a property and we go out and take a look.”

If the property is determined to be a health or safety risk, the county then contacts the owner and asks them to voluntarily correct the problem or problems. The owners had been given ample time to clean up their properties, but Pinero said the county needs to take additional measures on the remaining five.

This is the final step in the process before a public hearing on the remaining properties is held, Pinero said, and that although some of the property owners said they would voluntarily clean up their properties, they had yet to move forward with their promises. “We need to set a date for a public hearing,” Pinero said.

He said the remaining five property owners would now be notified by certified mail about the public hearing, which was scheduled for the June 22 board of supervisors’ meeting.

The five properties are: 882 Anchor Lake Road, Carriere, owned by Will B. Wheat of Odenville, Ala.; 7214 U.S. highway 11, aka Brooks Cubbyhole Grocery, owned by George Brooks executor estate; 661 Liberty Road, owned by Anita Adcox, of 661 Liberty Road, Picayune; 104 Lee Street, Carriere, owned by Donald Caves, same address, and 81 King Road, Carriere, owned by Perry W. and Kevin Wayne Seal, same address.

Director of emergency planning, Danny Manley, told board members that the monthly meetings of the Emergency Operations Center had started in preparation for the hurricane season. “One of the things we want to do is beef up our press releases,” said Manley, noting that certain, important information needed to be provided to the public throughout the season, “… such as the power company information.”

The Atlantic hurricane season started June 1, but August and September are the most volatile months for states that line the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Ocean.

Manley said his department was preparing to test all of its technology equipment in preparation for this year’s hurricane season. “We want to run all of our technology equipment simultaneously,” said Manley, noting that even the best laid plans can go awry in the time of a weather emergency. “We all need to get together and make sure we are all on the same page.”

Board president Anthony Hales said that in addition to the county being prepared, the public also needed to start preparing, noting that there were some things they could start doing now. “There are some stuff you have to do to start getting ready yourself,” Hales said, noting that people should not wait for a storm to be in Gulf of Mexico before they act.  

One of those things, said Manley, was for residents to test their private generators and to rotate out the fuel periodically. Manley agreed with district three supervisor Hudson Holliday that fuel for the county’s generators would need to checked and rotated before the season was in full force.

In other business, the county supervisors:— Approved the purchase of 10 digital time clocks for county employees which will use employees’ fingerprints to clock them in and out of a workday. The clocks will be installed in different locations, but will all feed time information back to one central point. County administrator Adrian Lumpkin said the county will see savings in amount of time various employees spend on payroll. The clocks also will streamline the process. “Everyone that had to spend time on payroll won’t have to anymore,” Lumpkin said, who said that just for the sheriff’s department, two county employees spent a couple of days on payroll every two weeks.

The new clock system will cost just under $30,000 and includes 90 days of technical support.

— Bids for the replacement of the Burnt Bridge Road bridge were taken under advisement because all the bids were nearly 12 percent above projected costs. The projected cost of replacing the bridge was $1.9 million, while the lowest bid was $2 million and the highest $2.3. County engineer Les Dungan said that he wanted time to try and re-apply for more money from the transportation stimulus package money that would cover the additional monies. Dungan attributed the low estimate to a number of factors, including the fluctuating price of pre-fabricated concrete culverts and the rising cost of asphalt.

The next board of supervisors meeting will be Tuesday, May 26 at 9 a.m. in the old county courthouse on Julia Street in Poplarville.