Manley looks ahead to Irma

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 7, 2017

As donated supplies from Pearl River County residents were en route to Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas, Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Danny Manley updated the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors about the forecast for Hurricane Irma.
“Irma could be one of the most powerful storms we’ve ever seen,” Manley said.
However, with a high pressure system carrying a cold front with it, and another high-pressure front in the Atlantic Ocean, Manley said the storm is projected to go up the east coast of Florida. But, that prediction could change and the storm could cause problems along the Gulf Coast.
If the storm does hit this area, “fuel is one thing we’re not going to be able to get in here,” Manley said.
He recommended residents top off what gasoline storage they have in preparation of fuel shortages that will be caused by potential contraflow.
Pearl River County Tax Assessor Gary Beech said that during Hurricane Katrina a lot of the problems occurred when Louisiana residents driving through Pearl River County ran out of gas, leaving cars stranded on the roadways.
County Road Manager Charlie Schielder said the county has about 6,000 gallons of fuel in reserve.
Manley also said the Mississippi Department of Transportation will also have 5,000 gallons worth of fuel trucks on hand.
“We’re in great shape right now, it looks like stuff is going to miss us, but we can’t rule out the possibility,” Manley said.
In a separate matter, Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage presented the Board with a pressing problem, the county is running out of gravesites.
There are only two “pauper” graves left in Picayune, used to bury those can’t afford their burial or have no family. None of those plots are in the Palestine Cemetery, Turnage said.
“With two sites left, they may be gone by now, I don’t know,” Turnage said as he spoke to the Board Tuesday morning.
He asked the Board to look into purchasing more plots from the city or even negotiate a deal with a crematory.
“I think we should have been cremating them all along,” Board President Sandy Kane Smith said.
But even if cremation was used, the remains would still have to be stored somewhere, County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said.
Turnage also discussed another issue in his department.
Lately, the state medical examiner’s office has been charging counties the same $1,000 fee for external/visual and internal autopsies.
“There’s been a lot of counties where the coroner is sending a body up, expecting an autopsy, and only getting an external (examination),” Turnage said. “A lot of them have gotten up in arms about it.”
In another matter, the Board discussed an ad valorem tax dispute concerning a property that had Highway 11 frontage before the Richardson-Ozona and Highland Parkway realignment project.
Jose Gutierrez told the Board that his property, located on the south end of Richardson-Ozona Road, has been assessed as having Highway 11 frontage for a number of years. But now that the road provides only diverted access to Highway 11, it no longer qualifies as frontage property.
Beech said he has already adjusted the assessment for 2017, but asked the Board to investigate the matter and see how many years the county needs to correct the assessment.
Board Attorney Joe Montgomery said that if the county made an error, it could only correct the assessment for three previous years.
Gutierrez told the Board he is planning to reopen the restaurant at that location and employ about 18 people.
“With good food and 18 employees, we have to do what we do,” District IV Supervisor Farron Moeller said.
The Board will meet again on Sept. 15 to adopt the annual budget.

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About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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