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Region 8 leader touts progress

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors metfor their regular meeting Monday to discuss matters of the county,including hearing a report from a Region 8 official concerning themental health service provider’s activities.

    Region 8 Executive Director Dave Van reported to the board that themental health facility has exceeded expectations since theagreement with the county and Region 8 was reached in October2010.

    “There was a $4 million investment commitment promised within a24-month period,” Van said. “By February 2012, which will be the17-month mark, we will have invested $6.5 million.”

    Van also reported that 54 new jobs have been added to thecommunity’s economy because of the facilities. He said they havebeen adding about two new employees per month with mental healthdegrees.

    According to Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop, before Region 8, alarge problem Lincoln County had with mental health patients wasfinding rooms for those that needed commitment. The Lincoln CountyJail was used to house those who could not get rooms.

    “Since October 2010, we haven’t had to place a mental patient injail,” Bishop said. “And that was a commitment upfront. Workingwith Region 8, we’ve been able to place patients in treatmentimmediately. That’s what has impressed me the most.”

    Van reported that the facility is seeing 80-100 cases per month, amark higher than initially anticipated.

    “We should start to see that number plane out,” Van said.

    He said the higher numbers were due the education of the public onRegion 8’s services.

    “There’s a lot being provided now that wasn’t provided before,” Vansaid. “The public is reaching out for public services. They decidethey need it and reach out to us.”

    At the conclusion of his report, Van asked the board not to cut thebudget for Region 8, if at all possible. The budget request forRegion 8 is $30,000.

    In other business, Wendy Smith, from the county administrator’soffice, has been in the business of saving the county money as shereported to the supervisors that because of a few logistical moves,the county should save $3,025.71 per month from this point on.

    Agreement renegotiations with Benecom Technologies have removed anarray of printers and computer monitors from the contract, saving$406.50. Smith said the equipment removed was no longer in use.

    She also did work on a state contract with Cellular South for cellphone service for county officials that will total $561.40 insavings. Smith said such officials like the supervisors and thesheriff’s department use the cell phones to conduct countybusiness.

    Lastly, Smith reported the communications service within countyoffices has made a switch from AT&T to SouthernTelecommunications, a company based in Jackson. This move will savethe county $2,057.81, according to Smith.

    “We’ll see these savings every month from now on,” Smith said.

    Work on the bridge railing replacement on Jackson-Liberty Roadbegan Monday, according to District Four Supervisor Doug Moak. Theproject ended up costing around $10,000, he said.

    “Obviously, we’ll seek to be reimbursed by the trucking company’sinsurance company,” he said.

    An 18-wheeler ran off the road last week, taking out about 140 feetof guard railing.

    The board also approved requests for cash from the HOME projects.The Southwest Mississippi Development District requested $12,498,as well as $105,817 for Cobb Construction, $26,688 for Joe SpeightsConstruction and $1,200 for Metro Home Inspection.

    The board will meet next on Sept. 30 for a special hearing onclosing matters for the budget year that will end that day. Thenext regular board meeting is Oct. 3.