September 4 was the final date to qualify for election to the Simpson County School Board, and this year much is at stake as a bond issue is being considered.
The only school board member slot to be filled this year is that of Stacey Herring. She qualified to run from District 5, the only person to do so. Her candidacy to re-occupy her seat was announced by Chancery Clerk Tommy Joe Harvey during last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
The terms of office for the other four board members do not expire this year. School board members serve staggered terms.
In other county business, the hearing for the tax levy increase was held on September 22, and no one objected so the board adopted the increase of 4.5 mills over last year’s rate. The new millage rate for the county will be 108 mills to fund county operations.
At the hearing for the upcoming budget no objections to the budget were voiced, so the board adopted that budget, voting four to one in favor of adopting the tax levy as well as the budget.
Mitchell Chatman, Supervisor District 1, was the only dissenting voice. Chatman offered no explanation for his opposition. However, in a follow up call from the paper, he said, “My constituents cannot afford an increase right now because most of them live on a set income and they just cannot afford it at the time.”
John Kilpatrick, Director of Emergency Services for the county, reported to the board that a total of 1,342 emergency calls were placed for the month of August; 443 calls were to 9-11 and resulted in 347 transport calls to the new ambulance service provider, ASAP. Kilpatrick said that he was not aware of any complaints about the service with the average time for a call being 14 minutes, 48 seconds.
Kilpatrick reported that Mendenhall Fire Department is now responding as a First Responder in the county and also has Emergency Medical Technicians. Fire Department members took the classes required in order to be qualified as EMTs or First Responders.
Kilpatrick reported that more cases of COVID-19 are now being reported. He said the county now has a fogging machine that is used to help sanitize workspaces.
The board has authorized hazardous duty pay for election workers of an additional $50, along with providing an additional pole worker on the day of the election to help speed the election process.
The board approved a payment in the amount of $14,206 for upgrades to Windows Servers for networks in the county offices. The board approved $3,813 for two additional firewalls for the Sheriff’s Department. They also approved the purchase of a Cradlepoint portable wi-fi device that would allow everyone in a room to log onto the same wi-fi access for the purpose of instruction. The cost is $1,173 with a monthly service fee of $36.99.
The board approved a note from Trustmark Bank for re-financing the lease purchase of two single axle dump trucks for $106,000 for 36 months at 1.38 percent.
The next meeting of the board will be held on September 30, at 9 a.m. This will be the last meeting of this fiscal year. The new year starts on October 1. The board will observe November 11 as Veteran’s Day.