The Copiah County Board of Supervisors began the first meeting of the new year by appointing new board officers and reappointing county department heads.
Supervisor Jimmy Phillips of District 5 will take the reins as board president this year. Supervisor Kenneth Powell of District 4 will serve as vice president.
The board reappointed county department heads as follows: Ronnie Barlow, county administrator; Jim Shannon and Elise Munn, board attorneys; Carolyn Morgan, Justice Court Clerk; Joe Johnson, engineer; Booky Thompson, road manager; Randle Drane, emergency management director, fire coordinator, and related duties; Ricky Stevens, E911 coordinator, deputy fire coordinator, and related duties.
After discussing personnel in executive session at the end of the meeting, the board reappointed Janet Schriver as cultural affairs director, clarifying the position as a part time job of 20 hours per week at the same rate of pay as last year.
A number of industrial park and economic development matters required the board’s attention. Neil Honan, CCEDD director, updated the board on various projects and negotiations currently under way in the industrial park.
The board agreed to sell five acres for $12,000 each according to the most recent appraisal to an existing industry in the industrial park on the condition that he agrees to sell 2.5 acres to Georgia Gulf, abides by the park covenants, and allows the county first refusal if he wants to sell the property later.
Honan reported that a prospective tenant for the former Universal building would like the county’s commitment to refurbish the building to bring it up to code as well as help with an expansion in a couple of years. “The building needs a million dollars worth of rehabilitation, at least,” Honan told the board. The county can seek grants or low-interest loans to do the work, and the tenant’s lease payments would cover any debt the county incurs. The prospective tenant was not named, but if the industry chooses to located in Copiah County it could bring 100 jobs in the first phase of the project and another 80 jobs in the second phase, Honan said.
The board approved a change order for the sign hookup at the industrial park entrance.
Supervisors agreed to set up tours of some of the existing local industries to show appreciation for the jobs they provide for the county.
The board president was authorized to sign the application for $150,000 in Rural Impact funds on behalf of DG Foods.
With the engineer and economic development director, the board reviewed potential sites for the new water well at the industrial park. The test well produced water containing high levels of elements which would require a treatment plant to make it usable. It is believed the high levels of manganese and sulfates in the water may be the result of a train derailment back in the 1970s. Nearby wells are free of these problems. The county has obtained a grant to pay for the new well.
Overtime was authorized in the Tax Collector’s department to deal with the property tax mailing in January and February.
Church property taxes were discussed on several parcels. The board approved the exempt status of Tree of Life Worship Center in Rockport and for a small lot purchased by the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs. The tax exempt status for the Crystal Springs Church of Christ was approved subject to completion of application. To receive tax exempt status, church property must be registered in the name of the church, not an individual, and the church should have 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
The Stovalls were given permission to cut hay at the industrial park.
Randle Drane updated the board on the potential for snow and ice later this week.
The board attorney was instructed to prepare paperwork for the 1967 Dodge owned by the Smyrna VFD.
Bart Reynolds was hired as jailer at the detention center. Sheriff Harold Jones reported a pretty quiet holiday in Copiah County. One teenager was killed in a one vehicle wreck Dec. 30.
Permit was granted to AT&T to lay cable on Blount Lane.
Quarterly budget allocations were approved: sheriff administration, $383,579; jail, $230,952.75; tax collector, $64,775.75; and tax assessor, $67,611.25.
Honan asked the board to consider the nine acre site close to the interstate for the proposed emergency shelter as there is an industrial prospect interested in the site next to the railroad.
Invoices were approved on the Advance Lane project.
Right of way counter offer to Red Mountain Timber was authorized and the president authorized to sign if accepted.
Yearly road bids were accepted before the board recessed until Friday, January 8, at 9 a.m.