Road Progress

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 9, 2012

County presses for progress on roads

By Billy Davis

Panola County supervisors voted Monday to dangle dollars in front of property owners who are refusing to give the county right-of-way land.

The county board also voted to seek a legal solution for a property owner refusing to cooperate.
Panola County engineer Larry Britt updated the county board about an ongoing issue on Landfill Road, now several years old, and two delayed bridge projects on Old Panola Road.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Britt said some property owners have cooperated with the county, but “some aren’t going to do anything until you make them an offer.”

Supervisors James Birge and Vernice Avant have been negotiating with property owners, and the county board voted 5-0 to allow them to make cash offers.

Any funds used to purchase right-of-way would come from road department funds, he said.

Britt said there is a legal document to fill out when a purchase amount has been agreed to.
The county engineer also advised supervisors a single holdout on Pocahontas Extended is delaying the widening of that roadway, located near Sardis.

 Property owners along Pocahontas are signing temporary easements to allow roadwork, not handing over property, Britt explained to supervisors.

The holdout property owner has hired his own engineer, and the two parties have been unable to reach an agreement, Britt said.

Supervisors voted 5-0 to allow board attorney Bill McKenzie to move forward with a legal demand to seek temporary access to the property.

“We’ve tried everything to make it work,” said road manager Lygunnah Bean. “He is aware we’re coming after him.”

In other county business:

•    Supervisors approved four hirings in the sheriff’s department. Emily Griffin, David Mills, and Joshua Cobb were hired as sheriff’s deputies. Their pay is $2,255 monthly, with $50 for private cell phone reimbursement.

At the jail, Willie Odom was hired as a corrections officer at $1,850 monthly.

Sheriff Dennis Darby also announced that Danny Beavers was promoted to investigator at $2,954 monthly.

•    Tax Assessor/Collector David Garner told supervisors he has hired Flora Jones to fill a new position in the tax collector’s office. Her pay is $1,650 monthly.

Garner said he interviewed approximately 30 applicants for the job, which he created for the new fiscal year.

•    Supervisors asked board attorney Bill McKenzie to draft a letter to Circuit Judge Robert Chamberlin, requesting a Panola County hire for public defender.

Attorney Robert Maxey, of Grenada, has retired and left the position open in Panola County. The other public defender is Batesville attorney David Walker.

Supervisor John Thomas made the request after hearing from attorneys who have submitted applications.