Supervisors hear about paving project, two sales pitches for insurance, app

Published 5:03 pm Friday, September 24, 2021

With the cost of paving county roads coming in less than budgeted, there is a chance that the countywide paving project could end up paving more roads than initially planned.

Les Dungan with Dungan Engineering told the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors during Wednesday’s meeting that now that about 13 miles of county roadways have paved, he estimates the average cost per mile to conduct that work is $82,000. Since that average is less than the initial estimate, Dungan said he anticipates being able to increase the number of miles that can be resurfaced as part of the project.

Some of that work includes DBST paving. While DBST is not as strong as regular asphalt paving, crews are taking efforts to strengthen the road bed by grinding up the existing road, shaping it, then mixing it with a form of cement to make the new road bed more sturdy. Dungan said the base is the key in DBST paving since the surface has no strength.

State aid funds are also being used to maintain some roads. Dungan said that patching and leveling of West Union Road, Ceasar Road and portion of George Ford Road will be fixed. Since George Ford Road was not part of the initial list, his request for the Board of Supervisors to amend the list was approved.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, the Board heard from Bill Porche, who is the president of Olinde Porche Insurance. 

He said that his company primarily provides insurance policies to first responder departments. The difference with his policies is that instead of paying for the value of a building, if a claim is approved, the carrier will pay the entire cost to replace the building, even if that cost is more than the value of the structure. No decision was made on that matter.

The Board also heard a sales pitch from Zach White, a communication strategist with OCV Apps. Emergency Management Director Danny Manley asked White to tell the Board about the smartphone app his company provides to counties and first responder agencies because he wants to find every way to keep the public informed.

The premise of the app is to keep the public abreast of emergency situations in the county, or to just update the public on things that first responders are working on or the presence of dangerous situations and closures on roadways.

For a fee, OCV Apps builds the app and makes it available to the general public for free through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. While there is no cost to the end user, the county foots the initial $15,000 to $20,000 payment and the subsequent yearly expenses of $6,500 to $8,500. White said the cost is primarily based on population, with additional fees for integrations and features. For instance, some counties provide access to the inmate population through the app or integrate the app with their social media accounts to make managing the app a bit easier.

When asked if the county could charge a small fee to the end user, White said his company has never done that before because charging for the app could hinder the number of downloads.

Manley said that the county is currently paying for a service called Active 911, so the county could possibly replace that service with the app. No decision was made on that matter.

In other business, District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday updated the Board on the 900 acre property discussed previously, which is a wildlife management area aimed at young people. Since it’s fallen into a state of disrepair, Holliday has been advocating for the county to take it over and make it into a place where people can conduct primitive camping, fishing, hiking or even shooting at targets at a range.

Holliday said he recently spoke with some representatives with the state, which currently owns the property, and the conversation ended on a positive note. He suggested the Board move on developing a plan for the property and submit it to the state with in the next 30 days.