Volunteers, emergency crews, and county workers were busy most of the night and following day cleaning up debris following a weekend storm.
The bad weather began late Saturday evening and continued through the wee smalls Sunday, leaving many trees down and residents without power. Some did not have power restored until Monday.
Copiah County Road Manager Booky Thompson remarked that some areas were covered in as much storm debris as Katrina left behind three years ago. A lot of trees were downed. But there was not enough structural damage to make a disaster declaration likely, advised emergency management director Randle Drane, so the county shouldn’t expect any grant funds to help pay for the cleanup.
The worst of the damage affected the rural county west of Crystal Springs. The supervisors publicly thanked Drane, the volunteer fire departments, emergency personnel, road crews, sheriff’s department workers and inmates, and everyone else who assisted in clearing the roads. Volunteers worked alongside county employees through the night Saturday and most of the day Sunday.
A bridge on Anderson Road has a broken piling. The board discussed closure of the bridge with the road manager and engineer, who planned to visit the bridge later that day. Repairs will be authorized under an emergency order if necessary, and the school will be notified of the damaged bridge so that the school bus can find another route until repairs are complete.
Sheriff Harold Jones reported that there are currently 40 state inmates housed at the county jail. Two trials were held last week, both resulting in convictions. He is trying to get the state inmates moved, he told the board, but there is no bed space available at Parchman right now.
A life insurance proposal was taken under advisement.
Dr. Janet Schriver, cultural affairs director, updated the board on plans to move the Robert Johnson birthplace to downtown Hazlehurst. The county needs about $10,000 more to move ahead, but Schriver is working on it. The MDA has promised the county a $10,000 grant for promotion and advertising.
The juvenile justice project is moving along, Schriver reported. Several teenagers have volunteered to help out the troubled kids.
A public hearing was held to hear objections to tax assessments. A protest was filed by AT&T. The board voted to deny their appeal, stating that the fair market value of the property in question is correct as assessed.
Advertisement for bids for mapping and maintenance was authorized. Every ten years a county this size has to update its aerial photography, reported Tax Assessor Todd Mooney. He explained several options in the mapping specifications to the board.
An ad valorem tax exemption application by Advance Auto Parts was taken under advisement. The board seeks more information about the industry’s expansion to clarify that it meets the qualifications for the exemption.
The board agreed to pay 4-H Agent Patrick Morgan’s association dues.
The board president was authorized to sign the contracts with the volunteer fire departments.
The emergency management director and assistant director were authorized to attend radiological training in Meridian.
Purchase of mosquito spray was authorized using the remaining grant funds from last year plus some county funds to cover the cost. There will be no more grant funds forthcoming, the emergency management director has been told by the state, unless there is another disaster.
Permits were approved for AT&T to replace cable on Monticello Road and Sugar Farm Road. Another permit was approved in Beauregard.
Wastewater treatment equipment at DG Foods was declared surplus and advertisement for bids authorized.
No action was taken in executive session with Coroner Ellis Stuart to discuss possible litigation. Attorney Elise Munn updated the board on a lawsuit filed against the county with has been dismissed.
David Bufkin was hired as part time dispatcher in the 911 center.
Progress payment was authorized to Huntington Lumber for the courthouse renovations for $104,595.
The resignation of Arthur Coleman at the south road barn was accepted. Robert Gowan was hired in the road department.
Advertisement for bids for bridge repair was authorized as the six month bid is up.
The coroner was authorized to replace the transmission in his official vehicle.
The board recessed until Friday, August 8, at 9 a.m.