Aldermen to put Police Department building up for sale

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2016

Jason Lamb reviews rough plans for merging the Poplarville Fire and Police departments with the Poplarville Board of Aldermen Tuesday night.  Photo by Julia Arenstam

Jason Lamb reviews rough plans for merging the Poplarville Fire and Police departments with the Poplarville Board of Aldermen Tuesday night.
Photo by Julia Arenstam

The Poplarville Board of Aldermen is continuing plans to move the Poplarville Police Department into the Poplarville Fire Department building on South Main Street.

The design of the current fire station will be retrofitted to accommodate police department staff, as well as specially designed storage areas for evidence.
Jason Lamb, an engineer from Walker and Associates in Hattiesburg, drafted rough plans for the Board to consider for the merger.
After months of visiting the facility and discussing the needs of both departments, the Board said it is prepared to begin the process of selling the police department building at 305 Highway 26 East, which was appraised at $185,000, and begin looking for a qualified contractor.
Lamb said he estimated the interior retrofit could cost $15,000 to $25,000, and an additional $20,000 to $25,000 for expansion of the parking lot.
However, Lamb also presented the possibility of building an additional structure on the facility, with the same architectural design as the main building, which could be used as an annex for storage.
The Board discussed the option as a possibility in the future, but not for this current project. Alderwoman Maggie Smith also brought up the potential need for a second fire station if the city continues to grow. Legal specifics concerning selling the property and the guidelines for appraisals were tabled until City Attorney Nick Thompson returns from sick leave.
In other matters, Poplarville Police Chief Butch Raby briefed the Board on arrest statistics for November.
Raby said the city had 11 automobile accidents, six of which were on private property, two related auto burglaries with a suspect arrested made for both cases, three disturbances, two vandalism cases with two arrests made on one of the cases, three drug calls with one arrest, one drug arrest on a traffic stop, one petit larceny, domestic violence calls, and two calls on a 17-year-old repeat runaway as well as one neighborhood complaint.
Raby also discussed a new system being implemented for filing police reports with the FBI national database.
He said he was not happy with the current PTS system used to create uniform criminal codes reported to the FBI because of issues with the software.
Instead, the department would use the preferred Omniform software and send monthly statistics to the FBI through a Microsoft Excel program, Raby said.
Board members proposed the department also receive training on Excel and set up official city government emails for officers, who are currently using personal email accounts to conduct work-related business.
The Board also approved the recommendation by Poplarville School District Superintendent Carl Merritt to reappoint Violine Jordan to the Poplarville School Board.
Jordan is currently serving as the Poplarville School Board’s president, but her term was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016.
Before adjourning, the Board approved the request to purchase an electronic water meter reader for the public works department.
City Clerk Jane O’Neal and Public Works Superintendent Sam Hale said meters have been read manually and recorded in paper books, which then had to be transferred to an electronic database.
“This may be the best thing I’ve ever seen come across this table in three and a half years,” Poplarville Mayor Brad Necaise said.
The cost for the device is about $2,900, O’Neal said, to which the Board members unanimously approved the purchase.
“Sam and I consider that Christmas…there was so much inefficiency and so much wasted time,” O’Neal said.
The Board also discussed plans to pursue a farmer’s market at the city’s green space on Main Street.
Though, Alderman Jason Pearson said the city needs a team of people to commit to and lead the project in order for it to be successful.
The next Aldermen meeting will be held Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

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About Julia Arenstam

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