The Copiah County Board of Supervisors set the millage rate at 101.75 for the new budget year at their September 15 recessed session.
This is down a bit from last year’s millage of 106.44, but due to the increase in the ad valorem rates, taxpayers will end up paying roughly the same amount in taxes despite the decrease in millage, they explained.
The new budget includes a levy of 30.55 mills for general county purposes, and 40.41 for school district maintenance. Millage was also set for other items such as fire protection, road construction, and repayment of general obligation bonds. More details of the county budget and tax levy can be found in a legal notice elsewhere in this issue.
The Monticello Road railroad crossing is currently ranked 53 in the state in terms of safety, reported Joe Johnson, county engineer. A number of fatal accidents have occurred at that crossing over the past several years. The crossing, near Highway 51 and several industries in south Hazlehurst, does not have crossing arms. The county has sought an upgrade to the crossing for several years.
Updating several items in the federal database should rank the crossing higher, Johnson told the board, including track speed, average daily traffic, percentage of trucks using the crossing, and posting a speed limit. A higher ranking will mean the crossing will be upgraded more quickly.
The board passed a resolution in support of a grant application.
Janet Schriver, cultural affairs director, reported that they are likely to be able to use grant funds to secure weather protection for the Robert Johnson House while it awaits restoration.
Two employees of the Emergency Management Agency were authorized to attend a civil defense conference.
Six tasers will be purchased for the sheriff’s department with grant funds, along with other law enforcement equipment.
Dustin Lucas will work part time for the 911 office entering data, such as mileage and GPS coordinates, into the computer to update the map system.
Three bids were received for the industrial park water well project. Griner Drilling Services of Columbia was low bidder at $295,471. Supervisors awarded the contract to Griner subject to the EDA’s approval.
The county will apply for MEMA funds for correcting drainage problems. A grant for a storm shelter is also sought. The storm shelter will be located in Gallman. The exact location has not been determined, but there are several parcels of county-owned property in and around the industrial park.
The lease of the former Universal building to Spectra/SESH has been extended to December 31, 2010. The county agreed to give the company 90 days to vacate if the county sells the building, and a new tenant would have to commit to providing at least 25 jobs.
The budget was amended for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009.
Payment to Bankcorpsouth for equipment payoff was authorized totaling $832,789. The buybacks on the equipment covered all but $9000 of this cost, supervisors said.
Requests for work on school bus turnarounds were passed on to the road manager.
The City of Hazlehurst requested receipt of taxes in lieu of services for the new fiscal year. The city’s portion of the road and bridge taxes will be about $93,775.
Thirteen pieces of equipment were deleted from the inventory in the road department.
Sidney Stapleton was hired in the road department part time before the board adjourned for the month. The next regular meeting will be Monday, October 5, at 9 a.m.