Board studying single facility

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Board studying single facility

By Rupert Howell
Supervisors Monday approved moving forward with a feasibility study to see what savings and advantages would be achieved by consolidating courthouses to one new central location in Panola County.
Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock told supervisors that since he brought up the matter during a meeting last month, “I’ve had quite a few positive remarks and only one negative. I think we need to do a feasibility study.”

Pitcock said his earlier suggestion was not about closing the courthouse in Sardis or firing employees, noting that something would have to be done with the Batesville Courthouse, too. Employee reductions would come from attrition such as retirements or job changes.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Pitcock also suggested an area near the North Batesville Exit on Highway I-55. Currently Panola County’s jail, airport, the North Mississippi Crime Lab, District Highway Patrol Station and the Mississippi Forestry Department Offices are located in that area.

Without an official motion, Board President Kelly Morris took an unofficial tally with all supervisors agreeing to proceed with the study with District Three Supervisor John Thomas voicing, “I think it is a good idea.”

The issue came up after Pitcock’s usual time before the board where he seeks approval of claims and other expenditures of the board. Among earlier payments authorized was approximately $65,000 for paving the Batesville Courthouse parking lot.

Last month’s discussion included spending hundreds of thousands on the heating and air units at the Sardis Courthouse.

“Everyone knows that on older structures, maintenance is always an issue,” Pitcock noted.

Morris noted that North Delta Planning and Development District’s Executive Director James Curcio had agreed that his agency could do the study.