Agency heads thank Supervisors for continued support

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Two representatives of state agencies spoke to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors to update them on the services they offer and how those serivices can help residents.

Ryan Frederic, district director for the Mississippi Public Service Commission, said that Coast Electric has received $7.8 million to use over the next five years to build out broadband Internet services. That work is expected to help address the long standing lack of access to that service in the most rural areas of the county.

Staff from the PSC office also passed out information concerning reporting spam calls and how to register a phone number on the do not call list. To register a number or find more information go to

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Board President Sandy Kane Smith said he gets a lot of calls from citizens who want better access to broadband.

From the South Mississippi Planning and Development District, Executive Director Leonard Bentz spoke to the Board about efforts being made to ensure the county receives the most bang for its contribution to the agency.

As of the end of fiscal year 2020, Bentz said the county has received $1.3 million in services for its more than $55,000 contribution. Services offered by SMPDD include meal delivery to more than 40,000 homes, more than 3,000 one way trips for seniors to receive services, 177 work force program participants and $2,500 in scholarships to Pearl River County residents, just to name a few.

In terms of work force development services, about $111,000 was used to help provide training to residents 18 or older who may be in a low income household or need skills so they can find employment.

Another $89,000 funded a program for dislocated workers who may have lost a job due to layoffs or circumstances they could not control.

Additionally, about four to six years ago SMPDD established the Mississippi Access to Care, which can help local families access a database of local homemaker services, or find nursing home care.

“We’re here in your county, you may not see us but we are active,” Bentz said.