Courthouse renovation project out for bids

Advertisement for bids for restoration of the two upper floors of the Copiah County courthouse begin this week in the county newspapers. The six-month project will include renovation of the circuit court offices on the second and third floors, restoration of the courtroom to its original specifications, work in the rotunda and former circuit court offices, restoration of the stained glass ceiling and an optional feature is installation of a skylight to illuminate the stained glass.

Grants from the Department of Archives and History in the amount of $475,000 and another for $221,000 have been received and the county expects to have to leverage the grants with some local funding.

The supervisors toured a residence across from the courthouse that they have rented to use as offices for the district attorney and possibly temporary quarters for the circuit judge and the Copiah County Economic Development District which must move during January.

Other Matters

State approval of recapitulation of the real and personal property tax rolls was placed on the minutes.

Britnee Pearson of the American Cancer Society asked the county for their support for a renewed Relay for Life fundraiser for the society. The group is working to eliminate problems encountered last year and is considering relocation of the project to the fairgrounds in Gallman. A meeting has been set December 3 at 5:15 p.m. in the Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital Dining Room for planning purposes and interested citizens in the community are urged to attend.

Bonnie Gustavis asked the supervisors to consider the Human Resource Agency’s need for additional space. The supervisors planned a walkthrough of the present facility to see the needs. The Mississippi Department of Transportation has offered to pay the rent on a private facility for the agency on a year to year lease basis if a suitable location can be found.

Sheriff Jones reported a detention center population of 61. Supervisors approved purchase of a second fence around the exercise area at the detention center utilizing $7020 in Homeland Security funds for the 7-foot high fence topped by barbed and razor wire. Successful bidder was Rogers Fence Company of Crystal Springs. The resignation of Steven Foote’ as deputy was accepted. Kanika L. Bliss was employed as a full-time jailer. Curtis James Byther was employed as a full-time jailer.

Emergency Management Director Drane pointed out the need for adoption of the National Incident Management System and arranged for a presentation for supervisors and others in the chain of command in event of an emergency. A change in the weather radar system utilized in Copiah was authorized and training in the improved system will be conducted by the National Weather Service. Grants available from Homeland Security for Copiah total $21,681 plus an additional $29,936 for law enforcement.

Temporary work on private property by the county for a dry hydrant site at 9192 Barlow Road was approved.

Cultural Affairs Director Shriver discussed interest in the Heritage House project by the juvenile justice system. She reported that a television documentary has been shot which may be shown by Public Broadcasting System. There is a possibility that a non-profit organization may be formed to take the concept to other counties. Commitment of grants for further renovation of the two county-owned former residences on the courthouse square utilized by Heritage House is expected and the Robert Johnson birth residence is expected to be moved and restored near the present facilities. There is further consideration of development of a wilderness area nearby for the program. Filing for a grant for purchase of the opera house in Hazlehurst and restoration of the Robert Johnson birthplace was conditionally authorized.

The announcement of the Congressional Award Gold Medal for Lynice Higdon was made a part of the board minutes.

Expenses for the tax collector and tax assessor to attend their midwinter conference were authorized.

Further plans were made for the state aid road inspection. Minority sub-contractors for the Beauregard road project were approved. The overlay project of county roads is expected to be completed in about seven working days barring weather complications. A punch list on the project is being prepared.

The state tax commission notified Copiah that it has complied with state regulations for spending reappraisal escrow funds.

Lease purchase contracts for two new vehicles for the sheriff’s department from Hancock Bank previously approved were signed.

Mary Cleveland was reappointed to a five year term on the Copiah-Lincoln Community College board of trustees.

Supervisors adjourned for November and set the swearing-in ceremony for officials on December 28.

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