Aldermen discuss Poplarville police and fire facility merger

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 9, 2016

Hudson Holliday visits the Board of Aldermen to discuss the plans to fix the sinkhole in Poplarville at the railroad overpass.

Hudson Holliday visits the Board of Aldermen to discuss the plans to fix the sinkhole in Poplarville at the railroad overpass. Photo by Taylor Welsh

During Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, the Board discussed merging the Poplarville Police Department’s facility with the Fire Department’s facility, the sinkhole and Constitution week.

Although the Board did not take action on the matter, they discussed how the Poplarville Police and Fire departments could share a building. The plan is to move operations of the Poplarville Police Department to the Poplarville Fire Department’s facility, located at 1390 South Main Street and subsequently sell the Police Department building located at 305 Highway 26 East.

Jane O’Neal, Poplarville city clerk, said that conservatively, the building could be sold for at least $100,000. However, the building was appraised to be worth $185,000. The money earned from the sale of the police facility could balance the 2017 fiscal year budget the Board plans to adopt Sept. 13. The proposed budget consists of a $32,919 variance between revenue and expenditures, O’Neal said.

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During the budget hearing on Sept. 6, the Board did not make a decision, but considered multiple suggestions.

“The only concern is, as the fire station is now, it wouldn’t be something we could move directly into. We would need to make some modifications to the facility to allow for rooms such as an evidence room and a squad room for the officers to conduct interviews with the people they bring in,” Poplarville Fire Chief Jonathan Head said.

“We also would need to expand the parking lot,” Poplarville Police Chief Butch Raby said.

With this in mind, Poplarville Mayor Brad Necaise provided another solution to balance the budget.

“The budget has been designed to sell the police facility in order for us to operate. The other option is that both of the Poplarville Police and Fire departments take a reduction in head count,” he said.

The Board must come to a decision on this topic by Sept. 13.

In other news:

  • Margaret Ann Ulerich and Gloria Penton, from the Picayune chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, requested a proclamation for Constitution Week to be held Sept. 17-23. The request was approved unanimously. Sept. 17 marks the 228th anniversary of the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Hudson Holliday, Pearl River County Board of Supervisors vice president, discussed a “Memorandum of Understanding” relating to the repair of the sinkhole at the railroad overpass on South Main Street. Holliday said Les Dungan, county engineer, submitted plans to the railroad company for approval.

“There is no reason why our plans will not be accepted,” Holliday said.

He also said that the Board of Supervisors will advertise for a contractor to do the work and asked Dungan to put in the contract that the work will commence on Friday afternoons at 5 p.m. and work on it for four hours each day until complete.

Holliday said he predicts that this construction will take about three weeks to complete.

The Board of Aldermen will meet on Sept. 13 to adopt the budget for the 2017 fiscal year.