With the coronavirus situation in flux, the way of doing business in the county changes quickly also.
Effective as soon as the process can be implemented, the Simpson County Tax Assessor’s office will be closed to foot traffic.
The reason given is the number of people who are not heeding the restrictions of social distancing.
Last Friday, 89 people came in to the office to do business and 100 on Monday. Though it is closed to foot traffic, the office will remain open. Tax Assessor Jamie Brewer said her office would be happy to assist anyone with their business. They can be reached at (601) 847-1744.
She expressed her concern when a patron came in on Monday and said they were a healthcare worker who had been dealing with patients ill with the coronavirus in Jackson.
Chancery Clerk Tommy Joe Harvey told the Board of Supervisors at their March 30 meeting that it is important that his offices be open to serve the people who voted him and others into office. Other county offices were not having as much traffic as the Tax Assessor’s Office.
The county plans to install glass panels this week to reduce exposure in the Circuit Clerk’s, Tax Assessor’s and Solid Waste offices.
Last week Governor Tate Reeves first issued a “shelter in place” order for Lauderdale County, where Meridian is located. The Health Department officials recommended Lauderdale County for the stronger isolation measure because it is designated as a hot spot.
Last Friday, the entire state was placed under the shelter-in-place order as a way to possibly stem the spread of the virus.
Simpson County Emergency Management Coordinator John Kilpatrick reported that there are not enough PPEs, Personal Protective Equipment, for Simpson County. His advice about wearing masks is that some protection is better than none at all. He requested that the board go into executive session to discuss worse case scenarios in the virus outcome. However, the board attorney said that subject did not meet the standard for conducting an executive session.
In other business at last week’s meeting, the board agreed to gather materials from the Road Department and solid waste as well as scrap at Howard Industries and create an inventory of what could be disposed of. The county will create notice of intention to dispose of these non-essential materials.
The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors was set for Monday, April 6. In an effort to create proper social distancing it was suggested that people not attend unless they have business with the board.
That regular board meeting on Monday of this week there was discussion to meet outside but “social distancing “ became the rule of the day when the board decided to move into the board room instead.
The board approved the lease purchase of a new Caterpillar excavator in the amount of $194,921.04 with the trade-in of Kebelco in the amount of $11,500. The purchase was necessitated because the other excavator was not large enough for the projects the county is working on. Because of the complexity of maintaining the new equipment, the county agreed to purchase a service warranty for six years.
The board approved an emergency order to repair the bridge on Athens Road and approved the bids of Oddee Smith in the amount of $28,113 for a 31 foot bridge slab.
The board approved the purchase of four new Dodge Durango pursuit vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department. The purchase price under state contract was $26,775 plus police packages in the amount of $5,621 each.
The board approved the purchase of a new drug detection dog from Covington County for $2,500.
In other matters,Tyson Foods requested exemption on taxes on the value of equipment at approximately $1.1 million. There was also the standard request on exemption from Howard Industries for “Freeport Warehouse” taxes. Both issues were tabled for additional documentation.
The Road Department was acknowledged for their assistance in picking up garbage last Friday. The county had been able to fill 10 temporary positions along with a janitorial position for county offices.
The next scheduled meeting of the board is a regular meeting on Wednesday, April 15.
Currently the solid waste office and tax assessor’s office is closed to foot traffic. The reason is because there has been excessive traffic at those offices. If you need assistance with solid waste matters you may contact them at 601-847-7000. For assistance with taxes, or tags you may contact their offices at 601-847-1704.
The D’Lo Water Park is closed to public based on orders from the governor.
The Department of Corrections has ordered that all trustee inmates that work for the county be recalled to the jail to prevent the possible spread of the virus.