Copiah County is under a burn ban until further notice, according to action taken by the Board of Supervisors last Friday.
Several other counties in this part of the state have taken the same action due to dry conditions.
Copiah County now has a burn ban flag which will be flown from the flagpole in front of the courthouse whenever a burn ban is in effect.
The only exception to the ban will be licensed control burn conducted by a certified control burn manager, which will be reviewed on a case by case basis during the ban.
Contract for the long-delayed overlay of about 30 miles of county roads was let to W. E. Blain & Sons for a total of $2,256,919.44. The bid came in at 10 percent under the estimate of $2,369,158.
The contract for two bridges, one each on Alford Road and County Farm Road, was awarded to Oddee Smith Construction, Inc. for $260,949.56, 38 percent under the estimate of $422,979.
Library USAGE UP
Katrina Castilaw of the Copiah-Jefferson Regional Library reported on the district’s activity and requested an increase in county support for the system.
Federal grants have been received for equipment for the blind and visually impaired at the Hazlehurst Library, one for maintenance. Use of the libraries is increasing, due in part to the economic conditions. People retraining for employment are learning to use computers at the library. Castilaw cited the need for more technology training at the library and the possibility of utilizing outside contractors.
The current staff is having trouble keeping up with the increased usage. She pointed out that there are now two literacy fronts to be served – technology as well as traditional literacy.
Significant increases in patronage over the past year occurred in Hazlehurst and Wesson while traffic in Crystal Springs remained steady. The municipalities are being urged to come up with additional funding as well as the county. Crystal Springs supports the library at $8.95 per capita and Hazlehurst at $9.91 per capita but Crystal Springs pays the library’s utilities.
Additional funding being sought this year will go primarily to the branch libraries where managers have been consulted about the particular needs of their libraries.
Bill Coker updated the board on the HOME grant process. This program will build new residences to replace structures that are too dilapidated to repair (mobile homes if selected must be replaced with mobile homes). The project is a numbers game to put the homes in the areas with the lowest family income – size of family considered.
Supervisors adopted a resolution to seek funding for the program and pledging compliance with the regulations.
Citizens interested in making application must furnish a deed that has been in their own name for a year and a complete record of family income. Survey forms are available in the county administration office and a hearing to get information out to those qualified will be held in the supervisors’ meeting room Thursday, July 16 at 4:30 p.m.
Supervisors are looking at census blocks to determine the areas of greatest need. Coker explained that an application centering on one census block will be more likely to receive funding. Last time the county applied for funding to replace one house in each supervisor’s district, but that application was rejected. Coker told the board that concentrating on one neighborhood or area at a time will be more likely to see success.
John Edwards of Nature Chem discussed control of roadside brush and roadside grass with herbicides in Copiah County to save on roadside maintenance costs. The county agreed to consider his proposal.
Michelle Kyle requested widening of Catchings Lane and supervisors agreed to study the matter.
Supervisors sought the assistance of Central Mississippi Planning & Development District in seeking a $100,000 grant for repairing the roof on Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital. Mitzi Stubbs of CMPDD will assist them.
A public hearing was held on modification of Copiah County’s Solid Waste Plan to allow Jones Lumber Company to place rubbish from maintenance of their wood yard in an abandoned gravel pit on their land. Supervisors approved the application which must now clear a number of environmental hurdles before a permit is issued by DEQ.
Cultural Affairs Director Janet Schriver received authorization to seek additional funding to bring speakers to the county in relation to the Smithsonian Exhibition to be in Hazlehurst at the Depot for six weeks beginning December 13. She also announced a meeting August 22 for representatives of funding sources for Heritage House and the Robert Johnson birth house projects.
A letter seeking extension for the MDA Rural Impact grant was authorized for improvements at MMI of Mississippi.
A routine tax roll correction was authorized.
Termination of a road department employee was authorized and estimates on upgrade of three bridges was presented: a two-span bridge on Camp Street in Crystal Springs at a cost of $37,620; a three span bridge on King Road at $61,910 and a two span bridge on King Road at $50,290. Funding is being sought for these projects.
Regina Austin of “Partners to End Homelessness” received a letter of support from Copiah supervisors of this coalition of five counties to seek stimulus money for shelter for the homeless and methods to end homelessness through help with rent and utilities.
The Mississippi Housing Authority received permission to name a street in one of their projects the John M. Hall Drive subject to approval by Mr. Hall.
Claims totaling $1,401,070 were approved before supervisors recessed until July 20 at 9 a.m.