Speak Out: Anchor Lake, West Union Road connector project.

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Two Pearl River County supervisors recently went to Washington D.C. seeking funds for several county projects. One of these projects, the so called, “West Union Anchor Lake Connector road project”, is a prime example of how government representatives at every level waste tax dollars and why taxes only continue to rise and never go down. The Pearl River County Supervisors have decided to build a new road to connect West Union and Anchor Lake roads. As a resident that lives in this area and has attempted to follow this project since it was made public, here is my explanation, why this is a waste of our tax dollars. There is a road that serves this purpose. Lumpkin Road connects to Anchor Lake road 1.5 miles west of where the new road will connect, then connects to West Union road about 2 miles west of where the new road will connect, the distances are approximate as my odometer does not have tenth mile increments. Doesn’t this seem like a terrible waste of tax payers dollars? A road already exists that serve this purpose, now it has been decided to build a second road to serve the same purpose.

Mr. Lee is quoted in the Picayune Item as stating that Lumpkin Road is narrow and dangerously winding. Then why don’t our Supervisors widen and straighten it? If you go north on Lumpkin Road from West Union Road you travel less than 1 mile to the first sharp curve, why not just continue straight alongside I-59 to Anchor Lake Road? What would be the difference in the cost. It would probably be less as this land is higher than the swampy area along Boley Creek where they have planned to build the new road. Mr. Lee also stated the new road would be a “state aid road which means the county would not be financially responsible”. It is all our tax dollars, whether it’s county, state, or federal. Mr. Lee also stated that “the school has no immediate plans to build on the property, it will happen eventually”. I’m not so sure there will eventually be a school built on this property, with the large swampy area running through it. Pearl River county citizens have voted against a bond, that would raise taxes, to build a new school several times.

District 5 Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith explained the public discontent at the two meetings that were held in 2011 and 2013. I was unable to attend either of the meetings due to work obligations, but family members, neighbors, and friends did attend. Mr. Smith was the only one, of the five Supervisors voting on this project that attended either of the public meetings. This leads me to believe the other four Supervisors were not interested in what residents in the area felt about the project, or the will of the people.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I have asked on more than one occasion, since this project was revealed, what process was used to determine, in all of Pearl River County, this is the location a new road is most urgently needed. I have never heard an answer. I have also asked to see the environmental impact statement for the project, when it was completed, but haven’t seen one. I would also like to hear how this connector road is going to be better for the county as a whole. It seems arrogant and condescending to state “We’re supposed to be working for the betterment of the county as a whole, not my district or your district” without explaining how this road is going to contribute to the betterment of all, or attending public meetings and show an interest in the will of the people in Pearl River County.

After the first attempt to vote on this project, it failed due to lack of a second. The second time it was brought up to vote the majority of the Supervisors have voted to continue with this project, even though there is overwhelming opposition by residents of the area. I have not heard one person speak in favor of this road other than some of the Supervisors. This money would be much better spent repairing existing roads than building a new one. That would be for “the betterment of the county as a whole”. What condition are the roads in your area?

Unfortunately for the citizens of this country our elected representatives at every level, city, county, state, and national, operate in reverse. They determine among themselves what projects should be funded. Then they appropriate funds to do a study for the project, then announce to the tax payers how important the project is and how urgent it needs to be done. Then decide to get public input after the decision has been made. It seems to me government should determine what the will of the majority of the people is before a decision is made to spend 3.5 million tax payer dollars.

There are citizens whose land will be taken by the county for this road, yes they will be compensated, but there are no For Sale signs on the property, that tells me they don’t want to sell it. Please call your respective Supervisors and urge them to scrap this wasteful project that will serve no legitimate purpose.

I would like to thank District 5 Supervisor, Sandy Kane Smith for listening to the concerns of his constituents in District 5, and voting accordingly.

By Thomas Kirby.