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County to get more insight on road safety with new MDOT program

Pearl River County will participate in a state road safety program that will help identify ways county roads can be made safer.

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors approved participating in the development of a local road safety plan at their regular meeting Monday. The Mississippi Department of Transportation program will give the county ideas for improving road safety. Having the safety plan may allow county officials to apply for funding for safety improvements, said Les Dungan with Dungan Engineering.

MDOT will review accident reports filed in the county and examine county roads as a whole system to give suggestions for improving road safety, said County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin. Road Manager Charlie Schielder said he thinks it is a great idea, because the program comes at no cost to the county and could improve road safety.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation offered the county the opportunity based on the number of vehicle collisions that occur locally. A meeting to kick off the project will occur in the next two weeks, said Dungan, and he expects the plan to be completed sometime in 2021.

In a separate matter, County Tax Assessor Gary Beech said that two of his staff members who accept homestead applications tested positive for COVID-19 and other staff members had to fill in for them. Beech said this brings to light the need to vaccinate county employees as soon as possible. Beech said his staff members often interact with members of the public and work in close quarters.

With the start of the new year, the Board also approved reappointing county positions of; Board attorney Joe Montgomery, County Administrator and Comptroller Adrain Lumpkin, County Engineer Les Dungan, Road Manager Charlie Schielder, Fire Coordinator Danny Manley, Purchase Clerk Lisa Napier, Receiving Clerk Pam Bowers and Inventory Control Clerk Gerald Bounds.

Board President Sandy Kane Smith asked his fellow Board members to come to the next meeting with lists of projects that are stagnant and need to be completed in the new year.

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 9 a.m.