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Regional jail authorization lost in Senate

Copiah Supervisors received word at their recessed meeting April 21 that the authorization for a new group of regional jails was lost in the waning moments of the legislative session in the Mississippi Senate.

Plans are to reapply for the next round of jail authorizations according to Sheriff Harold Jones.

A letter was received during the meeting from the City of Hazlehurst firming up the offer of land in the industrial park at the south interchange for the jail when and if it is authorized.

Other Matters

Supervisors were informed of a likely lightning strike on the electrical system of the old Universal Lighting plant that has reverted to the county. Temporary repairs have been made to accommodate the pipeline operation now in a portion of the building. Filing of a claim on the county’s insurance has been authorized to restore the full electrical service and quotations on repairs are being sought.

Copiah’s appeal to use clad windows in the restoration of the upper floors of the courthouse has been turned down but increased cost of the wood windows totaling $18,759 has been covered by a Mississippi Department of Archives & history grant.

A lengthy executive session for personnel and possible litigation was held and upon return to open session, it was reported that no action was taken.

Albert Murray reported on requests for a centralized Senior Citizen Center and was asked to serve as temporary coordinator. The effort is a result of a survey taken of a representative group of seniors who said that a resource center for activities, etc. was most needed by this age group. Cities in the county have made an effort to get senior centers started and Copiah-Lincoln Community College already has a coordinator, Evelyn Pevey, for such an undertaking. Supervisors plan to meet with their city counterparts, the college representative, human resource director, etc. to move the concept forward.

Justice Court Clerk Carolyn Morgan was authorized to accept a temporary worker from the employment service for about 8 weeks at no cost to the county to replace a regular employee on medical leave.

Seminar expenses were authorized for the coroner.

Insurance representatives made a presentation to supervisors for a payroll deduction program for accident, pre-paid legal and identity theft for county employees to include a “cafeteria plan.” Answers to some questions asked will be given at the May meeting for possible action by the county.

Sheriff Jones received authorization to advance Keely Davenport to tactical supervisor-dispatcher in the sheriff’s department. He was also authorized to purchase $20,864 in computer equipment for patrol vehicles, jail cameras, etc. from homeland security grant. Purchase of radio repeaters previously discussed were authorized for patrol cars from the drug fund totaling about $21,000.

Engineer Johnson received approval for an AT&T permit to improve telephone service on a portion of Harmony Road.

The board authorized Cultural Affairs Director Schriver to purchase books to use in her programs through a grant from Nestle. She reported on progress in implementing the $77,000 Juvenile Justice Grant utilizing youth art as a rehabilitation method. Most of this initial funding will go toward computers for establishment of the program and a grant is expected in November to further develop the concept. Parenting classes will also be included. Most clients for the program will be youth court referrals. A meeting is being sought with the Robert Johnson family on relocation of Johnson’s birth home and a report is expected at the next meeting.

Expenses were allowed for Airport Commission Chairman Steve See to attend the airport conference on the coast.

Chancery Clerk Amos settled $93,665 in fees collected in his office to the county.

A progress payment was made to Sample & Associates for work on the rural impact grant for widening the industrial park drive near the new MMI of Mississippi building in the Gallman Industrial Park. Further work on the drive and approaches to the park through Mississippi Development Authority grants are anticipated because of employment expansion at Advance Auto Parts. Authorization for application for a $1 million CAP loan for water and wastewater improvements in the park was given.

Arrangements were made to comply with a mandate from the Mississippi Department of Transportation for clearing of grass from the seams on the runway at the Copiah County Airport.

A bid was accepted for clearing two illegal dump sites on recommendation of the road manager.

Supervisors discussed a tour of the Nissan plant in Madison County as they adjourned for April.

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