Copiah receives first EDA stimulus check in Mississippi

CHECK PRESENTED – State and federal officials visited the Copiah County Courthouse on Monday to present a check to the Board of Supervisors in the first EDA grant awarded in Mississippi under the federal stimulus. From left are Elise Munn, board attorney; Supervisor Terry Channell; Joe Johnson, county engineer; Supervisor Kenneth Powell; Ronnie Barlow, county administrator; Supervisors Perry Hood and Jimmy Phillips; Charlie Horhn of Rep. Bennie Thompson’s office; Chancery Clerk Steve Amos; Phil

The first EDA grant in Mississippi made under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been awarded to Copiah County for the construction of a water well in the county industrial park at Gallman.

A $425,000 ceremonial check was presented to the Copiah County Board of Supervisors during Monday’s regular session.

The new water well will pump 300 gallons per minute. Copiah County has some heavy water users in the industrial park, including DG Foods, which uses up to 1.2 million gallons per month.

“This well will make the industrial park more marketable down the road,” said Phil Paradice, regional director of the Economic Development Administration for the U.S. Department of Commerce. “The park can deliver the capacity to allow companies to expand to meet market demands. Business means jobs, and jobs mean quality of life for citizens.”

Paradice was on hand Monday for the check presentation at along with representatives from Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, which serves as grant administrator on the project, and those from Rep. Bennie Thompson’s office, who assisted Copiah County in seeking the grant.

This is the EDA’s second investment in the Copiah County Industrial Park, Paradice pointed out. The first opened it up. This second one saves 300 jobs, he told the supervisors.

“The EDA has been good to Copiah County,” said Terry Channell, president of the board of supervisors. “We are proud to get the first check in Mississippi.”

OTHER BUSINESS

The public hearing was opened to hear objections to the real and personal property rolls. The deadline was Monday for submitting objections. The Tax Assessor’s office is working on the objections received.

A request was approved for a private cemetery in District 5.

An error found in land records going back to the 1980’s was corrected and two refunds were authorized to those who bought the parcel in erroneous tax sales. The property matured to the state for unpaid taxes years ago, explained Chancery Clerk Steve Amos, and should not have been included in the tax sale. Now the accumulated fees and interest are much more than the property is worth.

Michael Stogner was hired as full time deputy with the sheriff’s department, and Gerald Whittington hired as jailer. Chief Deputy Tony Hemphill explained the formula used for refunding training costs for officers coming from other departments.

The board accepted the proposal from Kickapoo for upgrading the jail’s computer system for $29,080. The board also authorized the sheriff to subscribe to the upgraded Leads Online system, which conducts pawn shop checks.

Emergency Management Director Randle Drane updated the board on the storm shelter grant expenditures. Most folks who wanted to participate have done so, and more funds have been spent in Copiah County than were originally anticipated for the program, Drane reported.

The Emergency Management Agency will install a system to monitor the weather sirens in Copiah County remotely. The sirens can be tested or sounded from the EOC, Drane explained. There are new sirens in Wesson, Co-Lin, Georgetown, and soon also in Crystal Springs. Hazlehurst has the old type of siren which must be set off manually and won’t be included in this monitoring system. The county has received a $12,771.60 grant for this project, which leaves a balance of about $2200 for the county to pay.

The burn ban is now lifted for Copiah County.

Katrina Robinson will be a part time dispatcher in the 911 office.

Mitzi Stubbs of CMPDD discussed the small municipalities grant program with the board. Supervisors agreed to seek funding for a $100,000 project with a ten percent match. They discussed several options for projects for this grant as well as a future $600,000 CDBG public facilities grant. Copiah County now meets low to moderate income qualifications to be eligible for additional CDBG funding due to census updates.

The board told the airport engineer to give the t-hangar contractor until Friday, August 21, to work through items on the punch list or the board will take action to call in the bonding company at the August 24 board meeting.

The low bidder on the apron seal coat project is Pavement Maintenance Unlimited for $14,493.05.

Copiah New Zion Water was granted a permit to move a water line after a failure on North Raymond Road.

The St. Paul Road bridge plans were rejected by the state due to changes in regulations which will require a new bridge inspection before the project can go ahead. In the past the sufficiency rating carried more weight than under the new regulations. The board agreed to program the 2010 bridge inspection to speed up this process.

The County Farm Road bridge project has been given the notice to proceed.

The Dentville/Jack Road project was revised so that the state can allocate $600,000 stimulus earmark funds to the project.

The 10.3 mile reseal project was cancelled due to lack of state aid funds. If funds become available the county can add it back to the program.

Emergency repairs to the wastewater treatment plant’s pumps and motors was authorized for just over $12,000.

Other road project paperwork was approved.

Payments to WS Construction on the Advance Lane widening project were authorized before the board recessed until Monday, August 10, at 10 a.m.

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