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Environmental study paves way for new runway

Copiah’s supervisors met with Airport Development Group representatives to accept a $71,250 Federal Aviation Agency environmental assessment grant for the Copiah County Airport which is the first step in a multi-year project to construct a new runway. Copiah is responsible for a five percent match in the project.

The environmental study will consider wetlands, cultural resources, biological concerns, etc. on the land that must be obtained for the proposed new runway and will include a public process including hearings. Affected landowners will be apprised of the plans by a letter prior to determination of what land will have to be purchased for the project. Drawings of the proposed project are on display in the Board of Supervisors meeting room.

Warm Springs Access

Supervisors met for at least an hour with Vera Collins of the Tommy Johnson Blues Foundation concerning access to the landlocked Warm Springs Cemetery where Blues Great Tommy Johnson is buried.

The Mississippi Development Authority has made a $50,000 grant to the foundation to develop the Warm Springs site as a blues trail destination. The supervisors have agreed to construct an access road to the site if an easement can be provided. Present land owners have not yet made the land available to the foundation.

Collins pointed out that it has been over four years since request for the access road was made and asked that eminent domain proceedings be considered if the right of way is not made available. Supervisors indicated that they do not favor such proceedings and requested that the foundation determine ownership of the property needed and obtain the right of way so the county can construct the access road.

Other Matters

Randy Floyd Powell was transferred from part time jailer at the detention center to full time.

Mileage was allowed for election commission members to attend scheduled workshops.

The Keep Copiah County Beautiful organization presented its budget request which is the same as the previous year. They reported that the recent cleanup was successful with all dumpsters filled. A Circle of Excellence Award has been presented to Becky Lowery of Wesson for her project of distributing trees for fourth graders to plant. A third yard vacuum machine has been received and presented to the Town of Wesson. Cigarette waste grants have been received, the first going to the City of Hazlehurst with the next one earmarked for Chautauqua Park. An office, desk and file cabinet for the KCCB use was requested.

Upon recommendation of Chancery Clerk Amos, an erroneous tax sale was corrected and reimbursement made. Amos reported that all Copiah deeds are now on the computer and training is underway for use of the new data. Supervisors were advised that a new district-wide computerized calendar for the Chancery Court has been purchased to replace one that was not functioning. Cost will be shared with Lincoln County, the other county in the district. A monthly maintenance fee will also be required of the district.

Supervisors rescinded a previous action rejecting an exit conference on the county’s audit and requesting that the conference be conducted.

Transfer of the county’s match of invoices from Huntington and Carl Nobles in the courthouse restoration from the reappraisal escrow account was authorized. Cable and telephone services for the upper stories of the courthouse were authorized for Davis, the low bidder to install cable and the county to purchase refurbished telephones since new sets compatible with the county’s present system were not available.

The final report of the Circuit Court Grand Jury was made a part of the minutes.

Sale of several surplus vehicles netted $2160 to the county and E911 was authorized to purchase two laptop computers with docking stations with the proceeds.

Supervisors authorized retaining an accounting firm to prepare financial statements for the county which were previously prepared by the state during the audits. Expenditure of up to $8,500 was authorized for the service since the state no longer provides the service.

Copiah entered the Beaver Control Assistance program agreeing to pay the maximum $4,000 allowed by state law plus $3,000 to be made available from the economic development district.

Advertisement for bids for a chiller for the Henley Building air conditioning system was authorized to be received July 7.

Supervisors authorized the county administrator to notify all departments to submit the lowest budget requests possible.

A routine tax roll correction was approved.

Upon recommendation of Engineer Johnson, AT&T was authorized to install fiber optic cable on Monticello Road. The county attorney was asked to pull deeds which will allow the county to secure right of way for the Alford Road and County Farm Road bridges. A new regulation allows right of way to be purchased from road funds. Posting of a bridge on Raymond Road was ordered corrected. Repair of the Sugar Farm Road bridge was authorized.

Double payment of a solid waste bill was corrected.

Paving of the Calling Panther Lake Road was directed to be expedited by the end of June. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will purchase the material and the county road crew will surface the road.

Construction of a screen for the dumpster at the multipurpose building at the County Fairgrounds was authorized.

Arthur Lee Coleman was employed as a machine operator.

A nutrition evaluation of inmate food at the Copiah County Detention Center awarded a satisfactory rating to the food being prepared at Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital.

Claims totaling $1,713,688 were allowed.

In executive session, the Shannon Law Firm was retained to defend the Equal Employment Opportunity lawsuit filed by a former road employee. The firm was also asked to answer a complaint filed by a group of employees who have not received payment for work they did under a 21st Century Grant. A temporary full time employee at the county’s north barn was hired to replace a regular employee during an extended absence.

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