Board of Supervisors purchases more land near courthouse

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Lillie Crawford, case manager for PRVO, spoke to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors about establishing an advisory board by the next meeting. Photo by Julia Arenstam

Lillie Crawford, case manager for PRVO, spoke to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors about establishing an advisory board by the next meeting.
Photo by Julia Arenstam

As the new fiscal year began, several county departments closed their accounts and looked to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors for this year’s funding.

The Pearl River County Tax Assessor’s office made several requests to the Board as part of routine end of the year business.

The Board granted a free port warehouse exemption to an Avon storage facility for inventory that was only being stored in the county, not sold.

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The Board also acknowledged a list of delinquent 16th section leases that the school districts would be cancelling for non-payment.

The Board acknowledged a list of bad checks the department received during the past fiscal year. The tax assessor’s office said warrants would be issued through the District Attorney’s office.

The Board also acknowledged a list of delinquent personal property and mobile home taxes, totaling $78,000 including fees.

They also approved to continue a partial tax payment program for real, business, personal property and mobile homes. The program allows qualifying property owners to pay half their taxes in January, a quarter after that and then the final quarter before the end of the year, Tax Assessor Gary Beech said.

The topic of paying property taxes led the Board to discuss some department’s policies against personal checks.

Board Vice President Hudson Holliday said the Pearl River County Chancery Clerk’s office doesn’t accept personal checks, and the county should look into changing that policy to provide better services.

Holliday said many people from out of town that own property in the county aren’t aware of the rule and it can cause an inconvenience and delay in payment.

During previous budget discussions, many department heads expressed intentions to give their employees a pay raise in the new fiscal year.

On Monday, the Board approved a memo from County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin that stipulated each department was authorized to give pay raises, as long as they remained within their allocated budget.

The Board also approved a request from the Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home to provide a $500 donation to the Cancer Walk and Health Fair to be held Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Board approved a grant agreement from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation which awarded the hospital $59,000 to purchase transportation for general use.

In an effort to continue moving the county forward, the Board approved a motion made by District IV Supervisor Farron Moeller to purchase the corner lot next to the courthouse for $125,000 calling the decision a “no-brainer.”

Lumpkin said purchasing the land was something the county needs for future expansion.

District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry said whether the county decides to build something on that property, or elsewhere in the county, efforts need to be made to centralize county government.

Holliday said a previous idea to build two annexes, which would house the circuit and chancery clerk’s office, onto the existing courthouse would cost around $12 million, but could allow the historic building to last another 100 years.

The Board also approved extension requests for the CDBG courthouse project and changes to the contract with Landry & Lewis Architects.

The courthouse renovations are expected to begin in November, with little disruption to operations within the building during the nine months of work, Lumpkin said.

The courtrooms will be temporarily moved to the Board of Supervisors building and the county building in Picayune on Goodyear Boulevard, Lumpkin said.

Most of the renovations will bring the building into compliance with ADA regulations, Lumpkin said.

Lillie Crawford, a Pearl River Valley Opportunity, Inc. case manager, asked each Board member to appoint a representative to the newly created advisory board.

Crawford said the advisory board must be in place by Oct. 21 and will meet quarterly.

Lumpkin said after Board members make their suggestions, they will be formally approved at the next Board meeting which was moved to Oct. 19.

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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