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Water supply in good shape, officials told

Lincoln County’s fresh water supply remains in good shape butcontinued monitoring of levels is needed, Pearl River BasinDevelopment District officials told supervisors during Monday’smeeting.

Jim Young, PRBDD geologist, said the purpose of the meeting withthe board was to give supervisors information on county well waterlevels and an idea of what kinds of water use can be supported. Thecounty’s water levels are not falling as quickly as some in thestate, but they are falling and need to be protected, officialssaid.

“Lincoln County is a little better blessed than some,” Youngsaid. “There’s no drastic reductions that we can see.”

Mike Davis, executive vice-president of the PRBDD, said thatwhile some counties were seeing water level reductions of aboutthree to four feet a year, Lincoln County’s drop was only about afoot a year.

“There’s no indications that water levels are dropping at anyalarming rate,” Davis said.

County Engineer Carl Ray Furr sounded a note of caution aboutSpecialty Minerals Inc.’s planned water usage. The industry, whichis currently using almost five millions gallons of water a month,is considering a second construction that could double its waterusage.

“It’s a big water user that’s going to impact those wells,” Furrsaid about wells that supply water to the industrial parkindustry.

Davis indicated he would be contacting SMI officials to discusstheir water use plans.

According to information presented to supervisors, LincolnCounty has more than 25 permitted public water supply wells, but astate personnel shortage has prevented frequent measurement ofwater levels. U.S. Geological Service indicated more than 200 otherwells used for irrigation or commercial use, but an exact number isnot known.

Davis said a goal for the PRBDD is to develop a database withinformation on wells and aquifers in its district. The databasecould provide county and city officials with the number of wells intheir areas, water level data and predict the impact of newindustries considering locating in the communities.

“I think it’s going to a very worthwhile project for ourcounties when we get it implemented,” Davis said.

Lincoln County is one of 15 counties in the PRBDD. The districtwas created in 1964 to serve as a local coordinator and sponsor forfederal programs of water resource development including pollutionabatement, flood management, soil conservation and recreation.

In other business Monday, Furr updated supervisors on a”disturbing development” on the state level that could impact somecounty road and bridge projects.

ROAD PROBLEMS

Citing a dispute between the supervisors association and theMississippi Department of Transportation and a “power struggle”between the state agency and the legislature, Furr said State Aidroad projects had been halted. Also, a bill to increase the amountof federal transportation funds coming to counties had been killedin the legislature, Furr said.

“Hopefully, this is just a temporary situation,” Furr said.

Since projects involving federal funds are not being awarded,State Aid and Bridge Replacement projects could be impacted. InLincoln County, that would include three bridge projects on BogueChitto Road, Topisaw Drive and Auburn Drive and two road projectson Heuck’s Retreat Road and Zetus Road.

Furr said MDOT commissioners and other transportation officialswere to meet Monday afternoon to discuss the situation. Theengineer was optimistic a resolution would be reached.

“I think it will be resolved, and I think it will be resolvedthis week,” Furr said.

Also Monday, supervisors approved setting aside 10 parkingspaces in the government complex parking lot for Brookhaven PoliceDepartment patrol cars. District 1 Supervisor Cliff Givens, whomade the motion, said the department would be responsible formarking and designating the spaces.

Supervisors also asked Sheriff Lynn Boyte about his parkingsituation. The sheriff said his parking area, on the other side ofthe jail, is away from the main public parking area, and he did notindicate a big problem.

County Administrator David Fields said he was not againstsetting aside spaces for police cars. However, he did mention anincreasing number of spaces that are being reserved near the backentrance to the courthouse.

“We’ve got constituents needing to get into the building” andthey’re having to park some distance away, Fields said.

An informal survey of the parking lot showed eight reservedspaces, including areas for circuit court officials, countymaintenance, the tax collector’s office and police detectives.

Earlier, Furr asked supervisors for their assistance in gettinga change order on the city’s First Street paving project.

The change order would allow a section of sidewalk on ChickasawStreet to be reworked. The project could be useful as the countyconsiders developing the area in front of the government complex asadditional parking space, officials said.