2016 brings together new Pearl River County board

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 5, 2016

NEW CHANGES: The county’s board of supervisors met Monday to discuss issues in the new year. Photo by Ashley Collins.

NEW CHANGES: The county’s board of supervisors met Monday to discuss issues in the new year. Photo by Ashley Collins.

Monday, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors met for the first time in 2016.

The newly elected board of supervisors were sworn in Dec. 30 and began their duties this week. The board includes three new supervisors: District I Supervisor Donald Hart, District IV Supervisor Farron Moeller and District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday. The returning board members are District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith and District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry.

During the meeting, the supervisors elected the board’s new president and vice president, Smith and Holliday respectively.

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Moeller made a motion to elect or re-elect the position of president and vice president every year, instead of every four years. The board approved the motion.

Later at the meeting, Marvin Houston, county director with the Mississippi Department of Human Services, said a program aimed to help people attain employment became mandatory in the state of Mississippi on Jan. 1.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Employment and Training program provides training and education to help eligible recipients attain employment. In order to become eligible, recipients must be between the ages of 18 to 49 and participate in a job with a private or public non-profit organization in the county, Houston said.

“I bring this to the board because the majority of the places we can place people in are non-profits, churches and county offices,” Houston said. An agreement between MDHS and the county is necessary to place people in county offices.

The workers aren’t paid in wages; rather, they receive compensation through their household’s monthly SNAP allotment. Houston said the individuals have no more than three months of SNAP eligibility within a 36-month period. The individuals must complete 80 work hours each month they’re enrolled in the SNAP program.

Houston said they plan to screen each recipient and hold an orientation later this month, and he hopes to have an agreement signed with the board before then in order to place the individuals in jobs that would help them move into regular employment.

The board decided to take the issue under advisement until the next meeting, which will be on Jan. 20 at 9 a.m.

Houston said people can contact the county’s DHS office at 601-403-2424 for more information about the program.

Also at the meeting, County Engineer Les Dungan said they’re working to receive extra funding for the renovation project at Liberty Road’s water park along the west branch of the Hobolochitto Creek. The county received a $100,000 Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources to improve the property for recreation purposes. In December, the project received four bids, the lowest was for $131,090.

Dungan said he’s optimistic that they’ll be able to receive more funding from the department.

“What I suggest is to table any action on bids to see if any additional funds will be available,” Dungan said.

The board approved tabling the issue until further notice.

In other news:

—The board approved travel for Nance Fitzpatrick Stokes, the county’s circuit clerk, to attend a conference in Jackson from Jan. 13 to Jan. 15.