Private road rendered unusable

Private road rendered unusable

By Myra Bean
The Panola County Board of Supervisors started its Monday meeting on a high note recognizing Robert “Buck” Hamilton with a service award.
Board president Cole Flint presented the 87-year-old with the plaque. Hamilton was first hired by the county in 1965 when he worked for DeBowen Wilson in Beat 4 through Rabbit Anderson.
He is believed to be the first black man to be hired by Panola County.
Black Gum Road
Black Gum Road is a private road a little over 1/4 mile long. The residents receive county services. According to resident Steven Moore, the garbage trucks have torn up the road. His wife has had to park about 100 yards up the road at night and he has to get flashlight to meet her and walk her to their house.
Mrs. Moore also said they have had $7,000 worth of vehicle repairs due to the condition of the road. They have also not received mail in two weeks.
Panola County Administrator Kate Victor assured the Moores that county vehicles will no longer be allowed on private roads due to a dictate from the Attorney General’s office. Victor also told them that they have to document the damage done by county roads and the county will be responsible for fixing those roads.
The Moores said the landowner told them if he sees anyone fixing the roads that he will have them charged as trespassers.
Board Attorney Gaines Baker advised them to get private counsel and take it to Chancery Court to see what their options are.
Ballentine Road
Will and David Hays owns farm property on Balletine Road that is rented by Jerry Locke. Due to some work the landowners did on adjacent property, now the water is backing up on the Hays property.
The Hays, Locke and their attorney Tommy Shuler addressed the board asking for a resolution for the problem they have been dealing with for two years.
County engineer Steven Gray said there are a lot of issues with that property caused by things being done by the landowner.
Flint directed Gray and road manager Lygunnah Bean to have a resolution by the April 2 board meeting.
“The ditches and entrances are ours (County),” Flint said.
In other business:
•The board declared 802 Sardis Lake Drive property to be cleaned up. Details are in a separate article, along with information on transient vendors.
•Chris Smith and Perrin Caldwell of Caldwell Insurance received permission to renew the MASIT insurance.
Road Department:
•Board approved invoice to city for dirt removal at the Batesville Civic Center for the third time.
•North Panola School bus turnaround list was approved.
•Road report was approved.
PC Administrator
•Victor received approval to accept the highest bid on the roll off truck from Tri State Mack of $110,000 which will pay off the note.
•Barbara Girner will be full time effective April 1.
•Travel was approved for supervisors, county administrator, board attorney and road manager to attend the MAS annual convention in Biloxi, June 11 through 14.
Sheriff Department
•Sheriff department received approval to hire Mark Allen and Charles Cranford as full time deputies to replace two deputies who resigned at $35,000 each annually.
•Jerry Draper was hired as part time inmate transport officer at $11 per hour.
•The sheriff department was also given permission to accept an armored car from Tunica County.
Panola Partnership executive director Joe Azar requested and was granted permission to go into executive session with the board on an Industrial Development opportunity.
According to Baker, Azar was given permission to enter into negotiations with a business who wants to come to buy and set up in the old Batesville Casket building.


  1. Natalie Byas on March 17, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    I am Natalie Byas, 275 Blackgum Drive. The conditions here have become so unacceptable that we just want to sell.our home and leave Panola county. With road conditions as they are, selling our home is not even an option. We pay the same “road privilege” tax as all other Panolians do. Yet I don’t consider it a privilege to have to catch rides to work because my vehicle is BACK in the shop for another repair. Nor do i consider it a ” privilege ” that our children and parents won’t even visit us anymore due to the road conditions. My son tore the oil pan off of his car the last visit he made. I witnessed a UPS truck go air born 2 weeks ago, sending packages flying to the front of the truck. should have to live in these conditions. The.county seems to hide behind the “private” road, yet the road sign does not read that way. I am aware that the “owners” rights can be stripped and Panola county can take possession of the road. The few families that live on Blackgum Drive are hard-working, middle class citizens, as most Panolians are. So WHY do WE not deserve and receive the same “privileges”as the other citizens?

  2. Anabell Elsner on April 23, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I live at 216 Blackgum Drive with my sister and her husband, Rose and Steve Moore. I absolutely agree with Ms. Byas and Mr. Moore that the road is not fit to drive on and is hazardous as well. The holes on the road has and can causees considerable damage to ones automobile. If the road is not repaired and an emergency should arise, emergency vehicles will not be able to reach anyone past a certain point on Blackgum Drive, which can lead to a civil lawsuit against the county and its representatives thereof. The fact that an emergency vehicle may not be able to trave along this road is unacceptable. I say this, because I was in the hospital during this initial meeting undergoing a quadruple bypass and I am at home recuperating; however, leaving for doctor visits causes great pain to my chest while trying to maneuver around the enormous potholes. If I were to suffer a setback and emergency personnel could not assist, then my family will have no recourse then to file a civil lawsuit. When it rains the road is even worse, the drainage is awful causing the road to become even more of a slush. According to your article, and I quote verbatim, “Panola County Administrator Kate Victor assured the Moores that county vehicles will no longer be allowed on private roads due to a dictate from the Attorney General’s office. Victor also told them that they have to document the damage done by county roads and the county will be responsible for fixing those roads.” This is not the case, the garbage still comes out to pick up the garbage. I would like to see someone out here a document said road. If the people who live on this road have been complaining for years, why do said people need to provide the county with documentation? Come and ride the road and you tell us if the road needs immediate attention. As Ms. Byas stated, we should be afforded the same respect as those who reside Panola County who live on dirt roads such as us. Furthermore, the owner of said road should be forced to either repair the road properly or to grant the county permission to repair the road. It’s about time for representatives of Panola County to get off their collective butts and serve their constituents or move over and let someone else take the reins.

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