Board of Supervisors-road projects

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No pay, no way: no dirt for Sardis

By Billy Davis

Panola County supervisors have approved road department projects in Crenshaw and Sardis to gain materials for riprap, but the county board balked at cooperating with the City of Sardis on a third project.

The request by Sardis officials to dump 700 yards of dirt on a future football field would require about 52 truckloads to the site, road manager Lygunnah Bean said Monday.

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The cost of the dirt would be approximately $500, Bean also said, but supervisors questioned the cost of gasoline and labor for hauling 50-plus loads of dirt.

Board president Kelly Morris reminded his colleagues that Sardis keeps its share of road and bridge tax receipts while other municipalities return their funds to county government.

Board attorney Bill McKenzie further explained that municipalities receive a portion of the county’s tax levy and can choose to keep the funds or pass them on to county government.  

 “Sardis is the only municipality taking money and asking for services,” McKenzie told the Board of Supervisors.

Como, Crenshaw, Courtland, Pope and Crowder return their funds to Panola County government. Other than Sardis, Batesville is the only other municipality that keeps its funds.

Sardis Alderwoman Lula Palmer and city engineer David Evans requested help last week, though only Evans was present Monday to hear the discussion of the request.

After hearing supervisors balk at the other costs, Evans suggested that the city may agree to pay for labor and gasoline costs, in addition to the cost of dirt, if supervisors would cooperate.

Supervisors balked at that suggestion, too, and said the county would charge for dirt and let Sardis pay a private company to haul it.

“I think we should stay out of it,” said Supervisor Cole Flint.

McKenzie explained to Evans that a letter was sent earlier this year to Tommy Shuler, the city attorney for Sardis, explaining that Sardis has chosen to keep its road and bridge funds.

“Make sure they know that,” Morris said, pointing to a copy of the letter Evans held in his hands.

Supervisors unanimously approved the other two requests, though some supervisors expressed reservations about using county equipment on private property.

The board’s votes will allow the road department to demolish a building in Crenshaw and tear apart a pile of concrete in Sardis near a church, using the materials for riprap that is used in washouts.

“I’m not against us getting riprap,” said Flint. “I’m against us taking a job from somebody else.”

Morris twice instructed Bean to describe in writing the road department’s plans — “the scope of the work,” he said — for working at each site.  

Bean said he had obtained temporary work easements for the sites in Crenshaw and Sardis.