Millard Lake project being considered

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 22, 2016

Wednesday, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors heard a presentation from representatives with Pat Harrison Waterway District regarding the proposed lake development in Millard.
District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday, who asked the representatives to attend the meeting, said the county has been trying to construct the 950-acre lake project for about seven years.
However, one of the major hurdles has been acquiring a permit. The Army Corps of Engineers will not issue a permit because they said it would hurt the oyster reef downstream.
According to the Pat Harrison Waterway District’s website, the district is a Mississippi State Agency that provides camping, cabins and recreational facilities and is responsible for managing the rivers and tributaries along the Pascagoula River Basin in Southeastern and East Central Mississippi. They manage eight parks including Flint Creek and Big Creek. The district’s facilities include cabins, RV camping sites, water slides, boat launches, lodge halls and nature trails.
The county is currently listed with the Pearl River Basin District, County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said Thursday. It’s been that way since the water district was established 34 years ago, he added.
“There have been talks in the legislature about mergers and consolidation, but we weren’t asked to move,” Lumpkin said.
Hiriam Boone, with Pat Harrison Waterway District, told the board the organization is divided into three committees to handle financials, work projects and policies.
Throughout the district, the organization has 91 cabins, a 25-room hotel in Okatibbee and 700 campsites equipped with water and sewage hookups, Boone said. They also have a maintenance crew, 43 full-time employees and 44 part-time contract employees, he added.
Boone said the counties pay 7/8 of a mil per year and the supervisors appointed a director the organization’s board.
District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry said it would cost about $262,000 annually to join Pat Harrison versus the $75,000 a year payment to the Pearl River Basin.
Boone said the money is returned to the counties through work projects.
Holliday said the lake’s construction might cost between $30 million to $50 million.
“There’s still Katrina money available in these states,” Boone said “The idea is to work through the governor’s office and get MDA to release some of that money for the purpose of doing this lake.”
Both Perry and District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith said, while the organization’s proposal was interesting, they needed time to think about it.
The board took no action on the matter.
In other action:
–– Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison told the board that he is eventually going to need eight new vehicles, four for patrol, two for transport and two for investigations. Allison said some patrol vehicles will be used to replace transport vehicles with high mileage and some of the transport vehicles will be either be sold at auction or kept for parts. A couple of the old investigations vehicles will given to the litter crews. The board approved a motion to transfer a 2016 Ford Explorer to the sheriff’s department.
–– Pearl River County Engineer Les Dungan updated the board on road projects. Patching and leveling has been completed on Sycamore Road and crews are now working on drainage aspects, he said. The contractor with the Richardson-Ozona road project is making progress and is ready to place curb and gutter, Dungan said. The contractor has been working overtime to recover from setbacks caused by the winter weather. Construction on the Liberty Road Water Park has begun, Dungan said.
–– The board scheduled a public hearing on May 18 at 9 a.m. for the flea market located in Ozona on Highway 11. The building has already been condemned and once the hearing is complete, the county can clean up the property.
–– The board approved a motion to extend the public road on Wilford Ladner Road in order to make repairs to a bridge. The county’s ownership of the road ends before the bridge. After that, the road is privately owned. District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry was the only supervisor to vote against the motion.
–– Supervisors approved the purchase of a road sweeper for about $49,800.
–– After their lunch break, the board approved a motion to utilize the state auditor’s list of CPA firms to seek proposals for an independent audit of the former Chancery Clerk’s Quickbooks records and the AS/400 records, Lumpkin said Thursday.
The next board meeting will be held May 2 at 9 a.m.

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