By Daniel Brunty
The Webster Progress-Times
The Webster County Board of Supervisors discussed fire trucks and the courthouse during its first monthly meeting Monday.
Chancery Clerk Russ Turner informed the board of bus turnarounds and budget updates. Supervisors then met with Justice Court Clerk Janice Brunty and discussed the collection of old fines with her. The board requested to have a monthly statement from the collection agencies regarding what money they have collected in that time.
Board members discussed their concerns of the collections agencies not collecting enough old fines. Board President Pat Cummings informed the board that he has had conversations with other collection agencies that could possibly replace the ones being used now. Deborah Sivira with American Municipal Services addressed the board July 31 about collecting delinquent Justice Court fines, according to the minutes.
Next the board met with Robin Havard with Insurance Associates of Starkville LLC, who came to offer competitive insurance rates for the county. Havard explained that her association could compare the county’s current insurance premiums to find better rates. The supervisors asked Havard questions on what could be done, and informed her that they would contact her in the near future.
Supervisors also met with Planner George Crawford of the Golden Triangle Planning and Developing District in regard to the purchase of trucks for the fire departments in the county.
The board asked Crawford what options it could they take to fund the purchase of fire trucks. After a brief discussion, the board asked him to contact all the fire chiefs in the county in regards to discussing the issue.
Crawford, accompanied by Project Analyst Phylis Benson of the GTPDD, met again with the board later in the meeting. Benson told supervisors that grant money was available to go toward the purchase of new trucks.
She discussed available grants and gave examples of other counties that were able to afford the vehicles at little cost to taxpayers. The board agreed to have the fire departments work with Benson to write grant proposals.
The board then met with David Lowe of Interstate to discuss repairing or building anew the courthouse. Interstate, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is an emergency restoration and general contractor company specializing in restoring commercial property. The company assisted Engle Martin & Associates with the figures seen on the initial insurance settlement proposed to the county.
Board members discussed their concerns with the total amount being offered and asked questions on how the figures came about. After a long discussion, both parties came to the conclusion that more information was needed to proceed. Lowe and the board were to meet again Wednesday during a recessed meeting.
Minutes of the board’s July 15 recessed meeting show that it authorized the signing of a grant agreement for a Small Municipalities and Limited Population County Grant project.
The project, according to the agreement is to reconstruct the county courthouse because of the fire that gutted it in January, including site work, cleanup and stabilization. The grant amount is $250,000, which must be spent by June 14, 2015.
Also, as previously reported, David Marsh with Benchmark Construction Corp. addressed the board July 30 about courthouse recovery.
In other matters Monday, supervisors met with Superintendent of Education Jack Treloar and Business Manager Heidi Young, who presented school district budget figures to the board. They also met with County Engineer Karl Grubb and signed a board order for annual county bridge inspections to begin.
The Board of Supervisors had recessed meetings on July 15, 16, 17, 22, 24, 25, 29, 30 and 31. Supervisors worked on the 2013-14 annual county budget on July 16, 17, 22, 24, 25, 29 and 30, records show. These matters were among those handled or discussed on the respective dates as reflected in the minutes:
• July 15: After voting to enter into a contract with North Mississippi Emergency Medical Services Authority to educate emergency personnel, the board voted to replace Eugene Doss with Mantee Fire Chief David Brand and replace Sherry Johnson with EMA Director/Fire Coordinator Barry Rushing on the North Mississippi EMS Board from Webster County.
• July 22: The board voted to accept the resignation of Lisa Stephenson as part-time jailer effective Aug. 1. It also voted to spread a copy of the certificate from the state Department of Revenue that it had received a copy of recapitulation of the real and personal assessment rolls. Supervisors voted to direct the clerk to submit an application for certification for the ad valorem levy of one mill.
• July 29: Eupora Mayor Dan Burchfield, along with Deborah Jenkins, Mike Jenkins and Paula Joye of Mississippi Delta Shows of Purvis, were present. The board voted to accept $1,000 for rent of the county’s property for the site of the carnival/fair over that weekend, and to enter into a contract with company with Mississippi Delta Shows for the fair/carnival in 2014 to be at the county’s lot on Highway 9 South.
• July 30: Sonya Sistrunk with AT&T met with the board concerning E-911 public safety answering point equipment.
• July 31: Supervisors voted to hire Gwen McMullen as a part-time road hand for District 4. They also passed a resolution and entered into an interlocal agreement with Choctaw and Montgomery counties to form a regional economic development district (see related article).
Randy Rico (District 3) was absent from all of the recessed meetings except July 31’s because of illness and Doug Burgess (District 5) was not present July 15 because of a doctor’s appointment, according to the minutes.
News Editor Russell Hood contributed to this report.