The Copiah County Board of Supervisors began the new year in its traditional manner by reappointing department heads and electing a new board president.
Terry Channell, supervisor of District 2, took the reins from outgoing president Earl Dixon of District 1. Vice president of the board for 2009 will be Jimmy Phillips of District 5. The supervisors each serve as board president for one year on a rotating basis.
The board voted to retain Ronnie Barlow as county administrator; Jim Shannon and Elise Munn as board attorneys; Carolyn Morgan as Justice Court Clerk; Joe Johnson as engineer; Booky Thompson as road manager; Randle Drane as emergency management director, fire coordinator and related duties; Rick Stevens as E911 coordinator, floodplain coordinator, deputy emergency management director and related duties; and Dr. Janet Schriver as cultural affairs director.
In other business, the board met briefly with Gerry Mosley to hash out details of the lease agreement on the airport. Mosley told the board he is prepared to take over as the fixed base operator as soon as the paperwork is finalized. The board plans to sign the lease with Mosley at the recessed meeting Friday.
Sheriff Harold Jones informed the board about the death of an inmate at the Copiah County Detention Center Friday.
Rep. Greg Holloway met with the board to touch base on matters concerning the county on the 2009 legislative agenda. He also expressed appreciation for the good working relationship he has had with the supervisors over the years, calling it the finest example of cooperation between state and county officials that he knows of in the state.
Issues expected to come before the Legislature this year include the budget, fully funding education, curtailing Medicaid spending, the cigarette tax, homestead exemption, mental health, voter ID, and the administration of 16th Section lands.
Supervisor Perry Hood remarked that state officials should be aware that the proposed increase in homestead exemption won’t lower taxes. “Counties will have to make up the income somewhere,” Hood said. “They’ve already cut their budgets all they can.”
“We can’t afford any more unfunded mandates,” added Channell. “No county can. We’re all for it – if they will fund it.”
The 2009 Legislative Session began Tuesday.
CIVIL RIGHTS EXHIBITION
The board authorized cultural affairs director Schriver to partner with the Copiah Ministerial Alliance and others to bring a 2000 piece civil rights exhibition to Hazlehurst in February. A curator will come with the exhibition to offer lectures and answer questions.
The exhibition will be housed at Antioch Church’s family life center during the first week of February, which is Black History Month.
“This will bless our neighborhood, and will bless our county,” said Rev. Martin Washington, pastor of Antioch.
The Copiah County Department of Cultural Affairs will coordinate the exhibit. Funds will be sought privately to cover the expense of the exhibition.
Chancery Clerk Steve Amos asked for refunds on parcels sold erroneously in the tax sale. Amos also updated the board on a new salt dome project that has applied for a permit.
The purchase of a repeater for the fire service was authorized using grant funds.
The board passed a resolution asking the congressional delegation to include three local projects in the proposed stimulus package. The projects must be ready to have under contract quickly, so the board chose a road overlay project, an industrial park water well, and the first phase of the Dentville-Jack Road project as being nearly ready to get started.
Second quarter budget allocations were authorized as follows: sheriff administration $360,056.50; jail $260,801.75; tax collector $62,449.25; reappraisal/maintenance $61,205.25.
Litigation was discussed in executive session briefly but no action was taken.
The Election Commission was authorized to attend their annual conference before the board recessed until Friday, January 9, at 9 a.m.
Board of supervisors meetings take place in the administration wing of the courthouse and are open to the public.