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County set to spend $1.5 million on industrial park

RELAY PLANNING – Anita Bales, Health Initiatives Representative for the American Cancer Society presided over Relay for Life meeting held at the Visitors Center.

Supervisors in their recessed meeting April 10 set in motion two programs which will mean over $1.5 million in updates to the Gallman Industrial Park.

A previously announced plan to improve the Advance Auto Parts road and provide a new entrance to the Gallman Park is nearing reality. A portion of the grant will come from the Mississippi Development Authority and a part from park funds totaling about $700,000.

The need for an additional water well in the industrial park at a cost around $300,000 has become evident and tie-in to the water treatment plant and renovation of the old wastewater treatment plant costing an additional $700,000 is in the planning state. This work will be done in stages and if an additional industry or expansion surfaces, a grant will be sought for this. Otherwise a CAP loan will be sought at about three percent interest to be repaid from the increase in utility rates in the park.

Copiah County Economic Development District Director Neil Honan presented these needs to the supervisors and they agreed to proceed in stages.Detention Center Inspection

Copiah’s detention center is scheduled for inspection by Ron Welch’s group as a result of a court order. The county will be required to pay the $3,000 fee for the inspection. If the county facility is unable to pass the inspection, state inmates will not longer be housed in the facility. It is

possible that failure to meet the court mandates could affect Copiah’s efforts to obtain a regional detention facility.

Other Matters

Upon recommendation of Sheriff Harold Jones, duties of arson investigator and grant writer were added to the duties of Chad Sills with a commensurate salary increase. Purchase of radio repeaters for county patrol vehicles and cages on rear doors were requested to be purchased from the drug fund.

Representatives of Ross & Yerger made a presentation to the supervisors on long range reduction of health care costs by educating county employees about the best ways of utilizing their benefits. The supervisors later renewed their contract with United Healthcare and their present carrier with slightly reduced benefits to county employees that will still cost an the county an additional $44,000 this year.

David Moak of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife & Fisheries reported that regulations required that an emergency action plan be in effect because the dam at Calling Panther Lake is determined to be “high hazard.” The lake manager will be the coordinator and have responsibility of notifying Copiah E911 in case of an emergency. The chain of command includes the sheriff, supervisors, emergency management, the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries and the Department of Environmental Quality. The dam is routinely inspected every sixty days. Sumrall, Carter Hill and Vernon Davis Roads would be in danger if the dam should fail and six residences would lie in danger. Moak pointed out that the department has structures over 90 years old that were not constructed as well as Calling Panther Dam that have never created a problem. A nature trail is under construction at the state lake site and grants and legislature funding are being sought for at least 30 camping sites.

Purchase of a radio for communication with the emergency operations center and the new fire truck at Hopewell was authorized.

Arrangements were made for utilizing the mosquito trap counts to assist in planning of the mosquito spraying program in Copiah.

The county made plans to accept a surplus fire truck given to them by the City of Hazlehurst, place it on inventory, secure title and offer it for sale as there is no present need for the unit.

The Monticello Road railroad crossing was named the Lisa Crossing and ten people who have died at the crossing will be memorialized in stars on the railroad right of way.

Airport Development Group reported that grubbing of land for the foundations of the current T-hangars has begun. Supervisors authorized receipt of bids on a seal coat for the airport apron at an estimated cost of $7,500 and undertaking an environmental impact study on the proposed new runway at a cost of about $75,000 from grant funds.

Engineer Joe Johnson secured approval of a permit for Gulfside Pipeline to drill under a county road. He presented survey maps of the county’s two rubbish pits in order to determine space left for future use and for the relicensing process.

The county continued its search for used bridge slabs for improvement of county bridges.

Routine tax corrections were approved.

Supervisors were notified that an appointment needs to be made to the jury commission before the end of April.

Expenses were approved for county administrative employees to attend a seminar in Jackson.

Purchase of a new chute at the fairgrounds was approved.

Approval of a new service contract between Copiah Water Association and Copiah County for operation of the water and wastewater facilities at the Gallman Industrial Park was granted.

Supervisors received a proposal for planning work by the Central Mississippi Planning & Development District but tabled the matter.

Claims totaling $2,419,874 were approved as supervisors recessed until April 21 at 9 a.m.

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