Transport service aims to upgrade offerings

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lincoln County supervisors received an update Monday from anagency working to provide better and more efficient transportationto elderly residents in the county.

Tony Middleton, senior projects coordinator, and ShirleyDampier, operations supervisor, with Five County Transportationrequested the population figures for each district and also askedfor clarification on the best roads. District Four Supervisor DougMoak said the districts were split equally with approximately 6,300people each.

Five County Transportation provides a service taking seniorcitizens and others from their homes to necessary businesses, suchas the doctor or grocery store. The van waits until the clientconducts his or her business and then return them home, all whileattempting to merge as many the needs of as many clients aspossible into a single visit, Middleton said.

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There is a fee for the service, but the cost of each trip variesdepending on distance, he said. A trip within the county typicallycosts $3 per person while a trip to Jackson would costapproximately $40 depending on locations of the client’s home andtarget location.

Fees are discounted for groups, Middleton said.

The agency requires a notice of 24 to 48 hours to arrange theservice, Dampier said. Pickups can be arranged by calling (601)792-4196.

Five County Transportation has been operating in Lincoln Countyfor about a month, she said, and has averaged one trip a day.

However, as word of the service has begun to spread, the numberof trips has been rising, she said. It is not a trend Dampierexpects to see change in the near future.

Officials for the agency, based in Jefferson Davis County,appeared before the board earlier this year to announce they wereextending the service to Lincoln County by acquiring a 15-passengervan through Southwest Planning and Development District.

Plans for a more substantive presence in the county have beenstymied by paperwork, Middleton said.

“We still have not hired a driver here because we are still inthe process of getting the van and establishing the routes,” hesaid.

The service is similar to one considered by supervisors when thedevelopment district had offered the county the van. However,supervisors decided the county should not provide the servicebecause of the maintenance and operational costs.

In other matters, Jeff Wilson asked the board to review theproperty values of the Brookhaven Country Club.

Wilson became the lead bidder on the property last week with a$700,000 bid and has until July 25 to close on the 129-acrefacility, which includes a golf course, tennis courts, swimmingpool and club house.

He said land rolls completed two weeks ago show the propertyvalued at $1,598,720.

“As you probably know, that’s more than twice what I’m payingfor it,” he said. “I don’t feel those are realistic property valuesin the shape it’s in. I’m hoping for some relief.”

The public can challenge land roll values until the end of themonth.

Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop informed Wilson he would need tofile a formal protest with Tax Assessor/Collector Nancy Jordan, butshe was attending a required professional conference this week.

Wilson could, however, make the formal protest to get theprocess moving forward and Jordan can review the case when shereturns, Bishop said. Once Jordan has a recommendation, it will bebrought back before the board, he said.

The State Tax Commission has final approval.

Also Monday, the board declined to assist a north Mississippicompany in its efforts to print county maps.

Southern Engineering GPT, Inc., of Glen, had requestedsupervisors review a provided map to ensure its accuracy andcorrect all misspellings of road names in their districts.

“We’ve been doing that for months on our own maps,” said CountyAttorney Bob Allen. “Why would you, as a board member, want toassume responsibility that it (the private company’s map) iscorrect and county approved? I don’t want a county map coming outthat says ‘Approved by Lincoln County’ that we didn’tauthorize.”

The cover letter sent with the maps did not identify why thecompany was making the maps, he said.

“I’m assuming they’re some commercial enterprise that is wantingto sell maps to the public,” Allen said. “Let the company check itsown accuracy.”

County-authorized maps prepared by the duly appointed engineersare updated as necessary through the 911 coordinator’s office.