County considers site for new jail

Copiah County officials hope the state will choose a site here to build a new regional jail. The time has come to start looking at potential locations for it, Sheriff Harold Jones told the board during Monday’s meeting.

Supervisors plan to meet with Hazlehurst city officials to discuss the possibility of locating the jail in the city’s industrial park. The industrial park is located near the south Hazlehurst exit off I-55. If a new jail is built there the city would get needed assistance in developing road and sewer infrastructure in the industrial park.

The exact financial arrangement to fund several new regional jails in the state is awaiting passage by the Legislature, but Sheriff Jones explained that the new facility would provide space for the sheriff’s department offices and county jail. A contract between the county and state would guarantee the facility would stay 80% full for 20 years. Jones has consulted with sheriffs in other counties with similar facilities, all of whom recommended the arrangement.

OTHER BUSINESS

All bids on the tanker truck for Bethel VFD were rejected. The specifications will be rewritten and advertised for bids again.

No action was taken in an executive session discussion of personnel.

Cultural affairs director Janet Schriver updated the board on Project Crossroads, a juvenile rehabilitation program which will work in conjunction with Youth Court with $77,000 grant funding. About 300 kids go through Youth Court every year in Copiah County. It will be the first program of its kind in the state.

A public hearing was held on the Durr property on Damascus Circle. The property was declared in a state of uncleanness and the board agreed to work with the landowner for 30 days before cleaning up the property and assessing the cost on his taxes.

A supplemental agreement and change order on the industrial park lagoon project were authorized.

The coroner was authorized to attend a mass fatality incident response class in Hattiesburg.

Claims were approved totaling $2,810,477.93. This includes the first bond payment, fire truck payments, the industrial park road bond payment, and first payment on the courthouse project, in addition to regular monthly bills, county administrator Ronnie Barlow explained.

The board will meet again on Tuesday, March 18, at 9 a.m.

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