No land commission appointments coming til 2014 8/6/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 6, 2013

No land commission appointments coming til 2014

By Rupert Howell

Board Attorney Bill McKenzie advised supervisors that nominations for Land Commissioners would not come around until October of 2014, causing District 3 Supervisor John Thomas to comment, “So we (Panola County) won’t get any new businesses until then. That’s about what it amounts to.”

At least two supervisors including Thomas have been critical of the land use board and their consultant following several controversial decisions, at least two of which involved washed gravel operations.

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Thomas’ comment came at Monday’s First District meeting in Sardis where supervisors took care of routine business putting aside budget business while County Administrator Kelley Magee was away. Budget meetings will continue next Monday following the regular Second District business in Batesville.

District Five supervisor Cole Flint has also voiced displeasure of land commission decisions in past meetings. The commission is made of 10 members with two being appointed from each supervisors district. Urban and regional planner Bob Barber is the Planning Commission’s consultant.

Steven Gray with Elliot and Britt Engineers told supervisors at Monday’s meeting that the bid for improvements to the Sardis Industrial Park would be open September 9. He explained that the work would extend from Belmont Road to United Plastic.

Gray also explained that the grant to pay for work on East and West Mill Road as well as paving Pocahontas from Sardis City limits to Mill Road was progressing.

Emergency Management Director Daniel Cole reported a $90,000 grant is being sought from Homeland Security but has yet to be awarded.

He also sought and got approval for replacement and addition of several panic buttons placed within the county courthouses for security.

Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock received approval for a list of items including a contract with ABL for providing meals at the Panola County Jail.

A maintenance contract for the county’s voting machines approved February 6, 2012 was “re-approved” by unanimous vote of the board as it was not included in the previous minutes.

Stefanie Ann Bray was hired as full-time LPN at the county’s jail and District One Constable Buck Harris was hired as a full-time deputy at the request of sheriff Dennis Darby. He had previously been approved for part-time work.

A part-time courtroom bailiff, Britton Crawford, was also hired and a new Chevrolet Tahoe’s purchase was approved, also requested by Sheriff Darby.

Darby also announced that the sale of Framed Pictures building and contents for taxes would take place September 18.

Sardis public works director Bubba McDowell sought permission for assistance with a ditch on private property where his department has inadequate equipment. Road manager Lygunnah Bean explained that the particular property affected only one landowner and could not be remedied using county equipment.

Then Bean went on to explain that the actual drainage problem was an outlet ditch downstream and asked supervisors for permission to allow Sardis to borrow a track hoe and use their own personnel to aleviate the problem.

Board members responded favorably after Bean’s assurance that he was comfortable with the equipment operator.

A couple from District One who had appeared before the board in March sought the county’s help with maintenance of Smart Road in the northeast corner of the county adjacent to Tate County.

District One Supervisor James Birge assured the road would be maintained with Road Manager Bean taking blame. He explained that the road was classified under new construction so no maintenance order had been issued.

More gravel is needed for the road, Birge explained, so that it can be overlaid, Birge said, “We are going to shoot it,” meaning it will receive an overlay.

Attorney Bill McKenzie informed supervisors that building on Wood Street in Batesville seized during a drug raid is to be auctioned by the sheriff with 20% of the proceeds going to the state and 80% going to Panola County’s Drug Task Force.