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Copiah County begins long range planning

Officials from Central Mississippi Planning and Development District met with the board of supervisors last Tuesday to discuss  a project to prepare a long range plan for Copiah County.

CMPDD’s proposal included the preparation of a comprehensive plan for the county for land use, population employment estimates for the next 20 years, and plans for transportation and public facilities.

The project will be funded with a combination of county with federal and state funds totaling $80,000. The county’s portion would be $30,000 and can be billed next fiscal year, the board was told. CMPDD will work with county officials to determine the county’s needs and direction to go in the future. CMPDD is currently working with the City of Hazlehurst, so the plans will tie in with each other.

CMPDD will begin field work this year, with completion of the long range plan scheduled for next year.

The need for an overall strategic plan is a big issue for the county, said economic development director Neil Honan. When the University of Southern Mississippi conducted public meetings to discuss county needs, the number two concern of citizens was the lack of planning, Honan reminded the board. The number one concern was the lack of qualified graduates from local schools.


A list of new furniture for the renovated portions of the courthouse was approved.

Architect Carl Nobles reported that the contractors are almost finished with work on the pipes and will start on the ductwork soon.

The board agreed to help Copiah Water Association apply for a CDBG grant to repair a water well at Centerpoint that is vital to their operation. The well was drilled in 1968 and requires $70,000 in repairs.

The water rates at the industrial park were discussed. The board agreed that a rate increase will be necessary in the near future, but no action was taken.

Honan pointed out that the county is reaching capacity for water at the industrial park. The county needs to do something soon before it reaches a critical stage, he said. The possibility of a capital improvement loan was discussed.

The board authorized cultural affairs director Janet Schriver to submit an application for a Smithsonian traveling exhibition to locate in Copiah County. The exhibition is called “Journey Stories,” with a transportation theme. Six sites in Mississippi will be chosen to host the exhibition for four to six weeks.

The board rejected all bids submitted to provide jail meals, entering into a contract with the county hospital instead. The hospital will provide inmate meals for $2 breakfast, $3 lunch and $3 supper. The hospital has a dietition on staff who can cater to special diets for diabetics or other needs, pointed out Sheriff Harold Jones.

Supervisor Terry Channell suggested that the board meet with someone at an April meeting to discuss requiring contractors to be licensed in order to work in the county.

The board authorized the Democratic and Republican parties to use the multi-purpose building in Gallman for their committee meetings free of charge until the courthouse renovations are complete.

Work on a school bus turnaround was approved on Henry Road in Crystal Springs.

The Copiah County Board of Supervisors will meet again on Monday, April 7, at 9 a.m.

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