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Precincts may be cut down

POPLARVILLE — Parker Berry, an attorney with Butler Snow law firm in Jackson, proposed that Pearl River County cut its number of voting precincts by about half.

The law firm is the county’s consultant on redistricting.

A county the size of Pearl River County doesn’t need “33 or 34 voting precincts,” he said. He urged the supervisors to consider cutting the number by about half when it approves redistricting for county offices.

Supervisor Anthony Hales noted he had “heard very little input from the public (on redistricting), but once we hold an election we will hear … we snuck something through.”

He then said, “I have never voted to interfere with anyone’s right to vote.” However, cutting the number of precincts to 17 will interfere with some seniors’ right to vote.

“We have people who aren’t going to drive another 10 miles to vote,” Hales said.

The board also again heard complaints about school bus turnarounds. A resident who lives near a turnaround on Patriot’s Way said the turnaround is causing problems because of the way it alters water flow following heavy rainstorms, making it difficult to get out of his driveway after a bus has used a turnaround nearly a mile from his driveway’s egress to and from the road.

Dale Miller, the county’s road manager said he will again look at the situation but isn’t sure about what can be done to correct the problem. Miller acknowledged there are few rules for a county to follow once a school board asks that one be maintained. He said he wanted to again have a meeting with the superintendents and transportation managers of the county’s four districts to try to get them to agree to single set of policies and procedures for bus turnarounds.

Miller also discussed a dispute where a landowner is blocking his crews from putting in a culvert to allow another landowner access to his property.

If he continues to block the road, we need to take legal action. We can’t allow ourselves to be pushed around,” Hales said.

The board also heard county engineer Les Dungan discuss a state review of its work on state aid roads. He said that once again the review discussed the need to remove brick mailbox and driveway entrances from the rights of way where they prevent work on the roads and can cause a hazard for motorists.

In other business, the supervisors:

— Approved MDOC requests for housing in November and December 2013 and reimbursement for the housing of $88,000 in November and $80,000 in December.

• Requests to ban FBINAA dues and American Correctional Association Reaccreditation contract.

• Approved requests for the tax collector/assessor to issue a check, strike tax sales, real and personal assessments, homestead roll changes and to void homestead escapes.

• Approved payment of $9, 244.77 to the Poplarville/Pearl River County Airport for a 2012 match for a grant.

• Mileage reimbursement rate change.

• Transfer of $129,874 for Katrina debt service.

• Travel for deputy to Sexual Abuse Investigation in Florence on March 24-27.

Adjourned to the next meeting on Monday, Feb. 23.