County board zips through Oct. agenda – approves burn ban

Published 1:38 am Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Panola County Board of Supervisors held possibly its shortest ever Monday at the Sardis Courthouse, flying through its agenda in 11 minutes and 41 seconds. More than half of that time was taken up by the opening prayer and reading of a page of routine, mostly mundane, request items that appear in some form or fashion on every meeting agenda.

Supervisors did approve a county wide burn ban in the short meeting, exempting agricultural burns, fire pits off the ground, commercial contractors, and anyone that is a certified burn manager as recognized by the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

“I’m once again requesting a burn ban, and hopefully the third time is a charm,” Emergency Operations Director Daniel Cole said in addressing the board. “Before it was precautionary, us trying to get ahead of the game, but now it’s there. It’s dry.”

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A check of city and county records indicates that firefighters have been called to several out-of-control brush fires in the past month.

Most of the state’s boards of supervisors approved burn bans last month, but Panola was a hold out as officials were hoping for rain. With the current burn ban, brush fires must be watched with fire fighting equipment on site and must be at least 1,500 feet from residences without a forced air system and no closer than 500 feet with forced air.

First of the month meetings, held at 9 a.m. the first Monday of each month in Sardis, are usually no less than an hour long with supervisors dealing with a variety of issues, requests, and comments from citizens.

The second meeting of each month, held at Batesville Courthouse on the second Monday morning, are generally shorter, but rarely less than 30 minutes.

Travel authorizations, permission for the Sheriff to sell surplus vehicles, and general county housekeeping items were covered Monday before the board went into a short executive session to discuss a contract, a personnel matter, and hear an economic development update from Panola Partnership.

On completion of Monday’s agenda, Board President Cole Flint commented on the brevity and asked fellow supervisors if they had any other business to bring up.

“Do we need to take a break and let y’all think of anything,” Flint asked.

Supervisor Chad Weaver brought laughter from the room when he replied, “No, we will tend to that in about 35 days,” suggesting board members have no appetite for controversial discussions with the General Election about a month away.

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 9, in Batesville.