Bids for the county’s planned new trustee facility at the county jail may have come in much higher than the Simpson County Board of Supervisors expected, which may delay the project.
Two bids were submitted for the project, one for $1.4 million from S&L Commercial Buildings and the other from Sullivan Inc. for $1.375 million. The board took the bids under advisement at their May 16 meeting, and plans are to meet with the architect to see where costs could be reduced in order to come in at the proposed cost of $600,000 to $700,000.
Road Manager Ben Warren has asked that the public be patient with the Road Department on responses to recent storm damage. He reported to the board that his employees work all day to come home to calls late in the evening asking them to go back and work to clear roads.
Warren told the board he is having problems with the cylinders that lift the beds on dump trucks and that two more have gone down. He also reported numerous complaints about the contractors on the repaving projects concerning the way patches are being made in roadways.
Problems have also arisen from the ambulance service that contracts for the county, ASAP Ambulance. One report came from a patient having chest pains and calling 911. The dispatcher relayed the call to ASAP Ambulance, but they claimed they never got the call and did not respond. The patient eventually ended up at Baptist Hospital in Jackson. Another complaint reported that a blind man was not served and left to fend for himself.
Supervisor Mitchell Chapman suggested that these complaints may warrant fines against the provider. ASAP was reported as having three Advanced Life Support ambulances in Simpson County when the patient had chest pains.
Tax Assessor Jamie Brewer reported to the board the need for having a professional come in and do a tax assessment for personal property. She also said that a real property appraisal needed to be done for the county. Board Attorney, Danny Welch advised the board that such services needed to be advertised for bid.
Brewer reported that since her office has been working with Solid Waste, which handles garbage collection for the county, that the number of unpaid garbage fees has improved between $12,000 and $15,000 over the most recent three month period based on last year’s collections. For the month of May a total of 1,639 names were up for renewal. Of those 505 names were delinquent. In addition, some names t were listed through post office boxes which have yet to be verified.
The board officially acted to accept the resignation of Tommy Joe Harvey as Chancery Clerk effective the end of May. The board agreed to appoint Genna Sullivan as interim Chancery Clerk until a the general election, which is slated for November of this year.
The board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters at the Sheriff’s Department. Also the board attorney was to update the board on a current lawsuit which involves the county.
The board plans to review an animal ordinance to address safety issues within the county. They are using a plan similar to one used in Yalobusha County.
The board heard from Jimmy Durr about residents residing in Magee having to vote in the Weathersby voting precinct under the new voting district boundaries. The board did not act on moving the voting precinct closer to the residents because of potential voting violations with the Department of Justice.
The board approved moving Chantell Meadows to full time dispatch and hiring Olivia Gilmore was part time non-certified. They also approved sending Investigator Chris Wallace to an on-line school to investigate on-line skimmers.
For the month, 1,309 calls were placed to 911 with a total of six structure fires. Over the past 11 months the county had collected $48,980 in permit fees through the 911 office. John Kilpatrick, director of Emergency Management, reported that a drone was used to locate a missing canoer who was lost. No injuries associated with the incident. He also expressed the need for an additional Red Cross Center in addition to First Baptist Magee in the event of an emergency.
The next meeting of the board is set for June 6.