Courthouse plans cause problems at Supervisor meeting
Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 22, 2014
The plans for renovating the Poplarville courthouse and constructing two courthouse annex buildings caused a stir at Wednesday’s Pearl River County Board of Supervisors meeting.
The discussion revolved around the plans for the building and the cost.
The board received a $2 million federal grant to start the renovation process and would require an additional $15 million to complete the full project, which includes the construction of two new buildings that would be on either side of the courthouse, said County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin.
Board President J. Patrick Lee said the $2 million grant wouldn’t cover all of the renovations required by the American with Disabilities Act.
Lee said currently county buildings are scattered throughout the county and buildings that county offices are housed in are old, out-of-date and inefficient. Building two courthouse annexes would allow the county offices to be centrally located in ADA compliant buildings.
Lumpkin said if the county voted to raise the millage by about 2 mills, it would mean an extra $30-40 a year homeowners would pay.
“I’m not looking at this as something I want to do, but it’s something that needs to be done,” said Supervisor Anthony Hales.
Lee said even if the county gets a $15 million bond, the board would still have to raise millage to cover the cost of the bond. It would also cost the county about $800,000 a year to payoff the bond.
The courthouse received a ruling from the Americans with Disabilities Act that the courthouse was not compliant and would need to be renovated to meet ADA compliance standards.
“The board recognizes the need for new buildings and a new courthouse and at the same time we have a great concern for the tax payers and this may be the hardest decision we will have to make. Its something that has to be talked about and we have to come up with a plan,” Lee said.
Also at the meeting, the board continued a discussion concerning the demolition of the Movie Star building in Poplarville.
The board approved the bid from HH Contracting LLC at the recommendation of County Engineer Les Dungan.
Dungan said the bid stated there would be no cost to the county, instead the county would receive $70,003 from the sale of surplus materials.
He said he’s convinced it can be done for the price stated in the bid.
Poplarville’s Mayor, Brad Necaise, told the board during the meeting that he is interested in recovering the old Movie Star signs.
Dungan said recovering signs and other property before demolition would be handled through the contractor and not the county.
It will take 3-4 weeks for contracts to be executed and then 180-calendar days to complete the demolition, Dungan said.
The board also tabled a discussion concerning the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s plan to connect Anchor Lake Road with West Union Road.
Earlier this week, Dungan said Lumpkin received an email from MDOT asking the board to acknowledge the road connection project as part of the department’s long-range plan. The acknowledgement is required before moving on to the next phase, Dungan said.
After going back and forth on the merits of the project, Supervisor Dennis Dedeaux asked the issue be tabled for later discussion.
Also at the meeting, Planning and Economic Development Director Ed Pinero announced on behalf of Director of Emergency Management Danny Manley that the National Weather Service had declared the county a Storm Ready County.
According to a letter from the National Weather Service, Pearl River County’s three-year designation as a Storm Ready County would have expired in July. However, Manley’s application re-qualified the county for another three years.
Also at the meeting, the board approved:
— The establishment of the Cuevas Family Cemetery.
— For a judge to travel to the Mississippi Justice Court Judges Association convention in Biloxi on July 20-24.
The next board meeting will be June 2, at 9 a.m.