Courthouse restoration bids within estimate

COURTHOUSE RESTORATION TO BEGIN SOON – The Copiah County Historical and Genealogical Society toured the historic Copiah County Courthouse at the last meeting, where Chancery Clerk Steve Amos reviewed plans for the upcoming restoration of the second and third floors. Plans include restoring the stained glass skylight over the courtroom.

It appears the courthouse restoration project can go forward this time, as the board of supervisors received six bids on the project at the December 20 meeting. Low bidder Huntington Lumber Company was within the architect’s estimate for the project.

Last time the project was bid, the board had to reject the bids as they were well out of the range of available funds.

The bids were taken under advisement until the Mississippi Department of Archives and History gives its approval. The project is being funded by MDAH grants along with funds from the National Parks Service.

The restoration will include work on the upper floors of the courthouse, including the Circuit Courtroom and offices. The District Attorney’s office will be permanently relocated when the project begins. The Circuit Court administration offices will also be temporarily relocated during construction. The county has leased a house adjacent to the courthouse square for this purpose.

OTHER BUSINESS

Jeremy McKenzie was hired as deputy sheriff.

Veterans service officer Ron Evans updated the board on several benefits available to qualifying veterans. Many veterans have not registered for benefits, Evans pointed out. He urged any veterans to contact him for more information about their benefits, replacing lost medals, or any other veterans service questions. Evans is in Crystal Springs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in Hazlehurst on Mondays and Wednesdays, and in Wesson on Fridays.

Chancery Clerk Steve Amos discussed plans to contract with Delta Computer to make digital scans of all the deeds in the county records from 1823 to 1995. The cost of the project will be $23,500 for 240,000 pages. The work should be complete in January.

Chad Sills was appointed county fire investigator. Seth Morris will serve as backup fire investigator.

Upgrades will be made to the Copiah County Emergency Operations Center to allow the Boy Scouts ham radio group to connect to county equipment in the event of an emergency.

The county has received a $2000 grant from the Mississippi Forestry Commission which will be used to buy radios and fire fighting masks for forest fires.

Industrial park water charges were reviewed with David Boone, water manager. Boone reminded the board of several expensive maintenance needs coming up. The board agreed to study the water system expenditures to determine an adequate rate system.

Contech was awarded the culvert bid for six months. Lowest and best bidders were accepted for other county road supplies and services.

Four bids were received for county depository and were taken under advisement for review.

Repairs to a bridge on Lake Copiah Road were authorized by S&S Dragline for $6400.

The county received a request for a speed bump, but the board attorney advised that the county is liable for any damage.

Board members were informed that the Hazlehurst School District has cut off funding for the Heritage House program. Litigation is possible from employees who went unpaid for their services. The board attorney was authorized to negotiate a settlement for the county’s portion of the expense to avoid a lawsuit.

The Economic Development District will find a temporary home at 117 Gallatin Street. Director Neil Honan asked the board to continue seeking a permanent facility.

The Beauregard Road project has been approved and a preconstruction conference is scheduled.

The county must comply with new federal regulations for bridge posting in order to continue receiving federal funds.

The board met again briefly before the swearing in ceremonies on Friday, December 28. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 7, at 9 a.m.

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