Airport project first step complete

The planned expansion of the Copiah County Airport has cleared the first hurdle with the completion of the environmental assessment. The next step is right of way acquisition, the airport engineers told the county board during Monday’s recessed meeting. The expansion project includes construction of a longer runway.

It may take a couple more years, but the engineers expressed confidence that the rest of the project will be funded. Usually when the FAA approves an environmental assessment, it indicates their intent to proceed with a project, the engineers told the supervisors.

The environmental assessment is complete, with reports in about 25 different categories. There are not many environmental impacts noted, which is good news, the board was told.

Each year the county receives about $150,000 from the FAA, so the engineers asked the supervisors to consider using some of those funds for land acquisition for the new runway. The land purchase will be 95% reimbursable, but it will become a cash flow issue as the surveyor, appraiser, etc. must be paid before the county can request reimbursement.

In other airport matters, the board was updated on the t-hangar project. The engineer and attorney have written letters to the contractor to work out a resolution with the county’s airport engineers and also to attend the May 4 board meeting. The attorney informed the contractor that a lack of response would be considered nonperformance and the bonding company would be called.

“We are moving forward that day, one way or the other,” said Supervisor Perry Hood.

The parking lot and access road were paved last week and should be striped next week.

RUBBISH PIT HEARING

The county has received another request to amend the county’s solid waste management plan to allow a Class 2 rubbish pit. This time the amendment is requested by Jones Lumber Co. Inc., requesting a three-acre site in Section 1N-1W-23, which is off Highway 28 east of Hazlehurst. The company wishes to dispose of its own waste at the site, not to open a public rubbish pit.

A hearing was set for June 1 at 10 a.m.

OTHER BUSINESS

Supervisors rejected the bid on a generator for the courthouse. The bid was $136,000, which is $12,000 over the federal share of the $130,790 grant. The board discussed redoing the specs to advertise for a more standard size generator. EMA director Randle Drane advised that other counties are having similar problems with this grant, but some have chosen to bid the generator and electrical work separately in order to stay within budget.

Missing inventory items at the Hazlehurst Volunteer Fire Department were discussed, with the board advising that lost/stolen property affidavits should be filled out by the responsible parties when inventory items go missing. Drane advised that inventory is now taken annually so that missing items can be tracked down promptly. The total purchase price of the missing items is $3478, with a depreciation of $1082. These items are believed to have been missing for some time.

Chancery Clerk Steve Amos asked the board to consider purchasing shelving for the record room as they are almost out of storage space. The shelving will cost about $40,000 to $45,000. Amos advised that he had tendered $73,120 to the county in funds collected over his cap, and he requested some of these funds be used for the storage project. The only alternative would be to scan the records and put them on computer, which would probably be very expensive, Amos told the board. Activity has declined in the past year, with fewer title searches and no oil and gas business at all, Amos advised.

Advertisement for bids was authorized on software for the sheriff’s new management system. The hardware for the system is being installed now.

Purchase of a laptop for a patrol car was authorized to replace an old one that is no longer operational.

A description of the enlarged service area of Copiah Water was sent to the board by the Public Service Commission.

Checks will be issued for right of way acquisition on the Alford Road project.

A permit to replace an existing telephone line on Old Natchez Road was approved.

The board approved an amended board order on the twelve-mile overlay project at the State Aid department’s request to reflect a change in the allocation of advance credits.

The board discussed turning in a project to be considered in the stimulus lottery. Supervisor Earl Dixon told the board he would like to see the county turn in a striping project. Many county roads are dangerous after dark because it is hard to see the road.

Road manager Booky Thompson advised the board he needs to hire a tractor driver at the south barn.

A resolution was passed honoring Garrett Chapin for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

Supervisors adjourned for the month. They will meet again on Monday, May 4, at 9 a.m.

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