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Site selection work for new industrial park gets supervisors OK

Lincoln County supervisors Monday approved a Copiah Countyengineering firm to conduct a study of possible sites for a newindustrial park.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce official ChandlerRuss, Kenny Goza and Bill Sones recommended Williford, Gearhart andKnight to review the six selected sites and make a recommendation.The site selection is the first part of an estimated five-yearproject that includes study, land acquisition andimplementation.

“We need to get moving on developing a new industrial park,”Sones said. “We’re out of the industrial development business untilwe get this done.”

Responding to supervisors’ questions, Sones and Russ said thechamber received four good proposals from engineering firms thatwere all capable of doing the work. In the end, though, timelinesswas the deciding factor.

“For the most part, we based our decision on the ability to getthe work done in a timely manner,” Russ said.

The approximately $100,000 study is being funded by a $70,000economic development grant that is being matched with $10,000 eachfrom the county, city and the chamber’s Vision Partnership. Russsaid Monday’s action was a formality after supervisors earlierauthorized chamber officials to contract with an engineeringfirm.

Roy Geoghegan, who is working with the chamber on the grant,said officials cannot finalize a contract until the grant award isofficial.

Russ said he hoped that would happen shortly, and the firm wouldbe able to start the project by April 15. The time frame for thesite study is four months after the contract is executed.

“We’re not going to let any grass grow under this, and we’regoing to get this started as fast as possible,” Russ said.

Recalling officials’ wisdom in development of the existingindustrial park years ago, Sones said the new park project has hadgood support from the county, city and chamber. He stressed theimportance of the new park and its role in providing jobs forfuture generations and in furthering economic development.

“This is the most important thing we can do to leave a legacyfor the future,” Sones said.

In other business Monday, board attorney Bob Allen updatedsupervisors on his draft of a new county sewer ordinance. Theordinance would prohibit electricity, water or gas connectionswithout health department approval of a planned household sewagedisposal system.

Allen quizzed supervisors on whether they wanted to include atime period to have existing homeowners get in compliance with thenew ordinance. The attorney indicated the time period could be ayear or more.

“The easiest thing to do is say from and after this date,” Allensaid, referring to ordinance passage and future enforcement.

District 4 Supervisor W.D. “Doug” Moak agreed with no timeperiod for compliance. The supervisor preferred to allow the healthdepartment to address current concerns through its citizencomplaint process.

Allen said he hoped to have a draft of the sewer ordinance tosupervisors within a few days. The board could then vote on theproposal at its next meeting.

In other ordinance matters, Dr. Dorothy Alexander spoke to theboard about the “eyesore” of junkyards in her Greenwood community.She said she had “grave concerns” and sought some form of ordinanceto govern appearance.

Allen said the state has interstate and highway regulations thataddress items such as distance from the roadway and fencerequirements. The attorney suggested the county could modify orextend the state rules to the county.

“What the state has is not unreasonable,” said Allen, who wasexpected to look into the situation further.

In jail-related matters, supervisors approved retiredMississippi Department of Corrections officer Tommy Allison as apart-time jail administrator. Sheriff Lynn Boyte said Allison couldwork no more than 20 hours a week and the county could pay for hisservices from drug seizure money.

“We’d just have to dip into that to do this,” Boyte said. “Ithink it would be money well spent.”

Boyte said Allison has an extensive law enforcement backgroundand would be a “real plus” for the jail. Allison was expected tostart as soon as possible after necessary employment paperwork iscompleted.

Also, supervisors approved sending five jailers to acertification course in Natchez later this month. The cost is $500per person, but officials believe the certification would beimportant if the county is sued over a jail-related issue.

In road-related matters, the board approved a $778,882 contractwith Magco for construction of new new bridges in Districts 2 and 5under the state Local System Bridge Program. The bridges will belocated on Forrest Trail and Russell Lane.

County officials are also studying an approximately $75,000request from BFI for supplemental compensation related to thecounty’s household count.

The count is used to determine how much the county pays forgarbage collection, and a recent count revealed more houses thanwhat the county was being charged for. The contract has provisionsfor the opposite situation if it were ever to occur.

Supervisors lamented the rising costs of garbage services.

“You think you’re getting ahead and suddenly the bottom fallsout,” said District 5 Supervisor Gary Walker.