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Courthouse renovations behind schedule

The courthouse restoration project won’t meet its July 1 completion deadline, the Board of Supervisors were informed during Monday’s regular monthly session. Changes to the courtroom windows ordered mid-project by the Department of Archives and History have pushed back the finish date.

“We hope to be back upstairs by mid-August,” reported Edna Stevens, Copiah County Circuit Clerk.

But on a positive note, the Department of Archives and History is footing the bill for the increased cost of the custom-made windows they insisted on.

The contractors, Huntington Lumber Company, Inc., will not be subject to fines due to the delay because it was not the contractor’s fault, the board agreed.

“We’re pushing as hard as we can,” said David Huntington. “We will push to finish before that date if we possibly can.”

The Department of Archives and History insisted on all-wood windows in the courtroom. The windows are being custom-made in Jackson, reported architect Carl Nobles. They won’t be low-maintenance, but they will be operational, Nobles told the board.

The upper floors of the Copiah County Courthouse are being renovated and restored closer to their original condition in this project funded by grants from the Department of Archives and History and the Department of the Interior along with local funds.

OTHER BUSINESS

The youth group of Zion Hill Baptist Church intends to adopt the section of Martinsville Road from Beauregard Road to Deason Road.

No public comment was heard during the hearing on the cap loan for water improvements at the industrial park.

Chancery Clerk Steve Amos reported that 688 new homesteads were filed in Copiah County during the previous year.

A tax exemption from Advance Auto Parts was received but did not meet the county’s guidelines as submitted.

John Pendarvis of Airport Development Group reported that all bids received for the apron improvement project were rejected as over budget. The funds will be used on the environmental assessment for the new runway instead, and the apron project will be addressed next year. Progress payment on the t-hangar project was authorized.

Library director Katrina Castilaw received authorization for the libraries to host after-hours internet access for teachers to take online classes for continuing education credits. More information will be advertised in both county papers during the summer.

Bill Russell presented the budget for the Soil and Water Conservation District. More program funds should be available under the new Farm Bill than the district has had in the past 10 years, Russell pointed out. He is also applying for a Bayou Pierre watershed program to stop erosion problems in the western half of the county. About 233,000 acres drain into Bayou Pierre, and the accumulation of sediment is a serious problem both on the bayou and in the Mississippi River, Russell explained. For the past three years, all eligible applications in Copiah County have been funded. The district spent $345,000 in Copiah County last year.

Cultural affairs director Dr. Janet Schriver updated the board on grant projects.

The Robert Johnson birthplace will soon be moved to the lot behind the Heritage House. It is not the ideal location, noted board president Earl Dixon, but it is the space the county has immediately available, and the house needs to be moved quickly or there will be nothing left to restore. The board authorized Schriver to obtain the necessary quotes for moving and stabilizing the house.

Tricia Crotwell resigned as part time radio operator at the sheriff’s department. Sharon Kelly was authorized to attend a training class.

Sheriff Harold Jones updated the board on standards that must be met for the jail to house state inmates.

The board authorized the split of insurance rebate money among the county’s 11 volunteer fire departments as follows: $3500 to Wesson, $10,000 to Crystal Springs, with the remainder to be divided. The county will contribute additional funds to bring each department’s share up to $8,000. Anticipated insurance rebate funds this year total $85,209.11.

Engineer Joe Johnson and Circuit Clerk Edna Stevens showed the board a map of polling places that will be presented to the standing joint committee to use in legislative redistricting.

Advertisement for culvert bids for the second half of the year was authorized.

Members of the hospital board were reappointed retroactively. Supervisors explained that they believed they had made these reappointments at the appropriate times, but the hospital was unable to find the documentation in the minutes. From District 1, Jimmy Buchanan will serve from Oct. 1, 2004 to Sept. 30, 2009. From District 2, Freddie Phillips from Oct. 1, 2003 to Sept. 30, 2008. From District 3, Carroll Hood from Feb. 1, 2007 to Jan. 31, 2012. From District 4, Johnnie Mae Buckley from May 21, 2004 to May 20, 2009. From District 5, Dr. Robert Rone from Feb. 1. 2007 to Jan. 31, 2012.

Low bid of $4700 was received from Danny Roberts to clean up four illegal dump sites on Guynes Lane, Oak Ridge Lane, and South Shady Grove Road.

Replacement of a wooden bridge on Goza-Stegall Road was authorized using bridge slabs from the Carter Hill Road project.

An old roping chute from the fairgrounds will be sold as surplus property. Bids will be received June 24.

Supervisors recessed until Tuesday, June 10, at 9 a.m.

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