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Pipeline payments important income source for Copiah County

NAMI VISITS COPIAH – Representatives of the National Alliance on Mental Illness met with the Copiah County Board of Supervisors Monday morning to raise public awareness about the support services available through their organization. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, which focuses on mental health education, support and advocacy efforts. From left are Wendy Mahoney, executive director of NAMI Mississippi; Ricky Quinn, president of the Central Mississippi Affilia

Copiah County officials have worked out an agreement with the pipeline companies to provide the county with an important source of income for the county’s general fund, schools, and roads.

An agreement for ten years was worked out with the pipeline companies to remit 33.333 percent of the normal revenue to the county each year and even with the discount, Southeast Supply Header’s appraised value $25,475,880 will yield $593,314 in tax revenue to the county, $192,000 to the Hazlehurst School System and $106,028 to the Copiah County School System.

Centerpoint Energy’s appraised value on their pipeline this year is $272,730. Another pipeline is expected to be constructed in Copiah in the near future.

TAX SALE MONDAY

Many property owners who owe delinquent taxes stand to lose their property in the annual tax sale Monday. Taxes unpaid for three years are set to mature if not paid by 5 p.m. Thursday, reports Chancery Clerk Steve Amos. Taxes remain unpaid (as of Monday) on about 2200 parcels, making this year’s the largest tax sale in the memory of the courthouse staff.

Advertisements have run in both county newspapers with details of the tax sale.

BUDGET IN THE WORKS

County officials are in the process of preparing the budget for the new fiscal year. The board received several budget requests during Monday’s meeting. A budget workshop has been set up for Monday, August 31.

Dr. Ronnie Nettles of Co-Lin asked the county to continue its support of the college at the present level if possible. Enrollment is up at Co-Lin, with a 15 to 20 percent increase in students making the college even larger than Mississippi Valley State University.

Dr. Nettles hopes to avoid a tuition increase, keeping the community college accessible.

Repairs and renovations are under way on the Wesson campus, with a new dorm planned in the next two years (mostly with state funds) to replace Ellzy Hall. Safety has been upgraded. The Co-Lin athletic program consistently performed well last year earning several state championships, and the athletes’ academics are in the top ten percent in the nation.

Dave Vann of Region 8 also asked the county to continue funding the mental health agency at the present level if possible. The agency has made a substantial investment in Copiah County, Vann pointed out, in both construction and employees. The multi-county agency serves 21,000 consumers with 650 employees.

OTHER BUSINESS

A family cemetery in District 5 received approval.

Arrowhead Subdivision No. 2 was approved.

Contracts with all 11 volunteer fire departments have been signed. A safety protocol was adopted to require fire personnel to wear colored vests with working with moving traffic.

A grant of $29,018 for emergency management has been accepted. EMA director Randle Drane advised the board he is seeking quotes on a weather siren for the Gallman area. He pointed out that this warning system would serve the school and Camp Wesley Pines as well as the residents of the community.

Representatives of  DHS voiced concerns over communication problems with the supervisors. The DHS personnel pointed out the state reimbursements paid to the county for their office space as well as the number of cases served by DHS agencies. The food stamp program provides $800,000 in assistance to Copiah families, there are 99 foster children at present, and 515 child support cases which collect $110,906 per month in Copiah County.

Mike Corkern of Airport Development Group reported that the t-hangar project is complete and ready to house planes. The county is set to receive $450,000 in grant funds nextx year from FAA which will require a match of $11,250 from the county. This will be used for the runway expansion project.

Engineer Joe Johnson updated the board on road and bridge projects. The county has received $600,000 in stimulus funding for the Dentville-Jack Road project. Work is set to begin soon on legal work and right of way acquisition.

The county agreed to participate in the state’s beaver control program again in the coming year.

Joe Johnson was selected as engineer on the EDA water well project through the proposal and rating process.

Triple G Construction’s quote was accepted for repairs on the roof of the large hangar at the Copiah County Airport. George Harris Construction’s quote was accepted for roof repairs on the county-owned house used by MDOC and the school district office.

Roof repairs are needed to preserve the Robert Johnson House and will be paid for with grant funds. Dr. Janet Schriver updated the board on programs at the Heritage House; plans are in the works to offer various classes including possibly quilting, knitting and other crafts.

Michael Funchess was hired in the road department. Supervisors rejected a settlement proposal in an EEOC complaint brought by a former employee. The board discussed personnel and possible litigation with the road manager in executive session but no action was taken.

Equalization of the real and personal tax rolls was approved for 2009-2010.

Betty Keywood was reappointed to the Aging board at CMPDD.

A property cleanup hearing was set for the first meeting in October for a property on Price Gilmore Lane.

The board recessed until Monday, August 31, at 9 a.m. for a budget workshop.

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