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Company questions supervisors

POPLARVILLE — COMSOUTH, Inc. President Dale Purvis addressed the board of supervisors at a meeting on Monday morning about his concern over how the board and county officials handled a situation involving emergency communication systems failing in November.

Purvis said COMSOUTH builds towers and constructs facilities in Pearl River County and also installs and maintains the wireless communication system the county uses. Purvis claims the board hasn’t done business with him in three years and was inquiring as to why that was.

He said when he heard about the situation in November and called in December to offer his assistance he was told by County Administrator Adrian Lumpkin that his assistance wasn’t needed.

Lumpkin said he was under the impression for that particular instant, he thought the county could only buy equipment from Team One Communications, Inc.

Both COMSOUTH and Team One are authorized dealers of Motorola equipment that the county uses for wireless communication.

The board declared a state of emergency during this time. The Emergency Operations Center was able to temporarily get radios for crews to use until antennas and equipment could be repaired.

Board President J. Patrick Lee said that they were able to establish communications shortly after the system went down.

“We took time to figure out the problem so we didn’t have to spend unnecessary money,” Lee said.

“I feel like this process was spearheaded,” Purvis said about the board not getting competitive bids.

When a state of emergency is declared, it allows the board to make the repairs and purchase materials for the repair without going through the bidding process if the amount exceeds $5,000.

The board approved for Lumpkin and Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith to travel to Washington D.C. on Feb. 13 to meet with federal legislators.

Lee was originally supposed to attend, but said he would be unable to go.

Lumpkin didn’t know how much the trip was going to cost at this point.

“It’s our money up there and we’re just trying to get some of it back,” Lee said at the meeting.

Lee said the board is trying to “impress upon” the politicians what projects are important and to have the federal level make them priorities is to meet with the representatives face-to-face.

“You have to invest a little to get a lot,” Lee said.

Also going to Washington D.C. with the county are City of Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero and Picayune City Council members Larry Breland, Lynn Brogan Bumpers and Janice Stevens.

County Engineer Les Dungan asked for the board to acknowledge a permit to lay a gas pipe on the public right-of-way on Hickory Grove Road.

Dungan said he has reviewed the permit and met with the company and approves of the permit.

After the board acknowledged the permit, Dungan expressed concern over the amount of communication and telephone lines on public right of ways.

“With the rate we’re going, we’re going to become congested with utility lines,” Dungan said.

Lee also addressed the public’s concern over the U.S. Highway 11 project.

“I know there a lot of people who are anxious for this project to get done,” Lee said.

He said he spoke to Road Commissioner Tom King recently and that he has an open line of communication with the commissioner.

“He’s trying to change the way things have been done and he’s been great in my opinion,” Lee said.

Lee said King told him that the U.S. Highway 11 project is on track and that he hopes to have all public right-of-ways acquired by October 2014. After the right-of-ways have been acquired, the state will start relocating all utility lines, which Lee said King is estimating will take two years.

Lee also reminded the public that the businesses in the area are also readying preparing for the project and “need time to ready themselves.”

The board adjourned until Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 9 a.m.