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County a step closer to storm shelter grant

Copiah County officials are moving forward with an application for a storm shelter grant from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

The county’s pre-application has been approved by MEMA, Copiah EMA director Randle Drane told the board of supervisors during last Tuesday’s recessed session. Now the county can proceed with the final application.

The board agreed to designate a county-owned 16-acre tract beside the former Universal building in Gallman as the site for the storm shelter.

The shelter will need at least 10 acres for the building and parking area, explained Drane, as well as additional room to grow. County officials hope to pursue additional grant funds to construct a new EMA headquarters on the same site in the future.

The proposed storm shelter will house 1,000 people. The site, which is on Highway 51 just south of Gallman, has the needed proximity to the interstate to be convenient for people seeking shelter, according to Drane, but it is far enough from the interstate to ease traffic management during an emergency event.


Family medical leave was approved for a deputy Justice Court clerk. Clerk Carolyn Morgan was authorized to hire part time help.

Reimbursement to three fire departments was authorized for work done clearing roads after Hurricane Gustav, now that the funds have arrived from the state.

Representatives of the Family First Resource Center met with supervisors to discuss plans to open a center in Copiah County. The board members said their attorney will need to look into the laws governing county contributions to nonprofit organizations before the county can agree to provide funding.

Ursula Davis was hired as full time jailer at the Copiah County Detention Center. The sheriff was authorized lodging and meals at the sheriffs convention.

Board attorney Elise Munn updated the supervisors on various land acquisitions for road and bridge projects.

The annual State Aid road maintenance inspection is set for Dec. 9 and 16.

The board members will attend the annual midwinter conference in January.

Advertisement for bids was authorized for annual and semi-annual road and bridge supplies as well as two-year depository. Bids will be taken Dec. 10.

Bids were opened on the St. Paul Road bridge project. Oddee Smith was successful low bidder at $235,279.41, which is 16.8% under the state engineer’s estimate.

Mike Corkern of Airport Development Group requested signatures on the county’s pre-application for MDOT and FAA entitlement and discretionary funds for the year. The county is asking for $833,000, which will require a match of $21,933 from the county. The county needs to purchase 181 acres for the new runway and planned expansion of the Copiah Airport at Gallman.  Corkern explained that they can proceed with the project if they receive half of the requested funding, although they will ultimately need the remainder as well.

Dr. Janet Schriver, cultural affairs director, updated the board on the expenditure of the Crooks Foundation grant. New uniforms were ordered for the boys choir, and funds will be used to refurbish the kitchen at the Heritage House.

The board discussed personnel in executive session for about 20 minutes. The attorney announced that during the closed session the board decided that an employee who requested a hearing did not do so within the time frame required by the personnel policy, so a hearing would not be held.

A deputy coroner was authorized to attend recertification class in Jackson.

Claims were approved totaling $1,679,535.59 before the board recessed until Monday, November 23, at 9 a.m.

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