County considers joining opioid suit

By GRAYSON SEGHINI,

The Simpson County Board of Supervisors decided to consider filing a lawsuit against the opioid epidemic during Friday’s meeting.

The meeting began with Representative Noah Sanford presenting the idea of the county joining forces with a law firm based out of Hattiesburg to work on a lawsuit against the opioid epidemic. So far more than 100 counties across the nation have joined this legal battle including Forrest, Marion and Lawrence counties in this area.

Opioids have now passed cocaine as the leading killer among all drugs. This lawsuit will target the pharmaceutical companies distributing them. As far as the county’s involvement goes, Sanford stated, “The county will not be out any money because they do not pay for anything.” It is simply an agreement that Simpson County will join the fight and end any opioid crisis here. The board voted to table the discussion until a later hearing.

The board voted and approved the appointment of Dusty Drennan an interim constable to replace Dan Easterling. Easterling, a 33-year law enforcement veteran, died at the age of 69 on November 13, 2017.

Drennan won the by a vote of 4-1.  Supervisor Randy Moore voted against Drennan. Drennan was in attendance at the meeting and when the decision was made he stated, “All I have to say is thank you. Thank you for trusting in me.” Drennan said he was thankful for the appointment and did not hesitate to tell the board where he stood on different issues. A special election to fill the term is set for November 2018.

The board favorably considered proposals by the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office. Maintenance man Devon Thurman and detention officer Anthony Dampeer were both granted 50 cent per hour raises.

The Sheriff’s Office was also granted permission to hire a DUI assistant. This new assistant will only work a few hours a week  to do paperwork. This new position will be funded by the DUI grant.

The board was asked to consider the claim of D’Lo resident Johnny Floyd, who is asking that the county pays for a new driveway at his home after a county vehicle allegedly damaged it. Floyd claims that the vehicle tried to turn around in his driveway, after he has asked multiple times for them not to, and cracked the concrete.

As of now the estimated quote to the county to fix the driveway is $5400: however, the board voted to table their decision until more information is provided.

During last week’s meeting, the board agreed to purchase two bush hogs from R&M Tractor. One was a 10 foot for $15,244 and a 15-foot cutter for $17,988.64. This week the board ratified the County Administrators of the lease purchase quotation of BancorpSouth Equipment Finance. The lowest interest rate is set at 2.48 percent for 48 months for the two John Deere Tractors with monthly payments of $1,808.97. The other banks considered were Hancock Bank’s quote at 2.54 percent and Trustmark National Bank’s quote of 2.71 percent.

The board approved payment for travel, meals, lodging, registration and mileage expenses for election commissioners to attend the 2018 ECAM Annual Elections Seminar and Training in Philadelphia, Miss., January 24-26, 2018.

The board approved the lowest and best bids for the term purchases of county supplies and alternates for the 2018 calendar year and for culverts for the 2018 and 2019 calendar years.

The board agreed to authorize County Administrator Rhuel Dickinson to make the best bid decision regarding the quotation for a rebuilt or used transmission for garbage truck #3443.

The county’s bridge problem is starting to see some light now with the bridge on Hwy. 472 finished and only needing an inspection. The bridges on David Sherman Rd. and Macedonia are also scheduled to begin construction at the beginning of the year, says county road manager Ben Warren.

The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Jan. 2, 2018.