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Lowndes County Supervisors Meeting Leads to Hour Long Quarrel

Wednesday’s Supervisors meeting was highlighted by two main points of interest.
First off, EMCC President Dr. Rick Young addressed the board and informed them of EMCC’s upcoming trip to Uma, Arizona to compete in the National Championship. The number two ranked football team will be going up against number one Arizona Western on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 pm.
Young announced that the team will be leaving from Golden Triangle Regional Airport Thursday morning on a privately chartered jet. The airplane fare will cost approximately $140,000 and Young asked board members to help financially support the school in this unexpected venture.
Board President Harry Sanders then made the motion that the board amend EMCC’s budget with an additional $25,000 to help offset the cost of the private plane.
Young says the team will return from Arizona late Saturday night and will be greeted with a reception at the school’s Golden Triangle campus. While the football players will travel to and from Uma by plane, EMCC’s band will travel by bus.
Young closed by saying “Your community college is the best in Mississippi. We want to make it the best in the nation. We will accomplish that.”
The other point of interest that took up the majority of the meeting was an issue regarding the county abandoning Co-Op Road.
During the Oct. 31 board meeting, the supervisors voted unanimously to abandon the road. Located off of Military Road, Co-Op Road runs by the Columbus Co-Op. Approximately a dozen residents live on that road and they showed up to Wednesday’s meeting to voice their complaints.
According to those residents, when the county abandoned the road Columbus and Greenville Railway placed a barricade over the roadway, blocking them from their homes. Their main concern was that should an ambulance or the fire department have to get to the homes, there is no physical way for emergency personal to reach them.
C&G Rail Road has two sets of train tracks that run across Co-Op Road. The one closest to the barricade is currently in operation. The track farthest from the barricade is currently under construction with asphalt lying crumpled around it.
Mike Smith lives at the end of Co-Op Road and complained to Supervisors that he was stuck by a train for nearly two hours last week-and it’s not the first time it happened.
Smith and fellow neighbors made multiple calls to E-911 in an attempt to get the train to move but were unsuccessful.
The nearly hour-long rant got somewhat heated at times as group spokesperson Dennis Galtman repeatedly stated that he did not understand why the situation had gotten “to this point to begin with.”
Apparently at the Oct. meeting, Supervisor Frank Ferguson informed the other board members that he had spoken to residents who lived on Co-Op Road and that none of them objected to the proposed abandonment. At Wednesday’s meeting, Ferguson addressed the disgruntled citizens who claim that Ferguson did not speak to them by saying “I apologize to the people. I made an error, that was my error.”
Since the barricade was placed, residents have been using Bethel Road as a thoroughfare but according to Smith, “It’s a path. It’s a driveway at best.”
Bethel Road is a narrow, one-way road that runs alongside Bethel Baptist Church, less than a mile down the road from Co-Op Road.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Public Works Director Mike Pratt, City of Columbus C.O.O. David Armstrong and Neel-Schaffer’s Kevin Stafford. Supervisor Leroy Brooks told Galtman that short of the county getting into a “lengthy legal battle,” their hands were tied. However, Brooks did recommend that Pratt, Armstrong, Stafford and Giles meet with Galtman and his fellow neighbors to discuss a solution to the problem.
Supervisor Jeff Smith addressed Stafford asking “This will be taken care of by our meeting on Monday, right?” to which Stafford responded “Yes sir.”
In addition to the issue with the road barricade, Supervisor also heard from Circuit Clerk Mahala Salazar. Salazar informed supervisors that there was a “special on voting machines” and she could get machines at a fraction of the cost. According to Salazar, the voting machines can cost upwards of “several thousand dollars” but they were being offered at $500 a machine. Salazar asked the board for permission to purchase 10, which they voted on and approved.

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3 comments

  1. Julie Gartman

    The Board of Supervisors neglected to do their homework on this issue. They have made some huge mistakes here, not the least of which is not addressing the fact that the landowners have a 70 year old easement across Co-op road where the county has now placed a barricade, blocking us from our property. Also, yesterday, an emergency vehicle had to sideswipe a train that was partially blocking our only other exit, in order to respond to a 911 call. And isn’t it interesting that the RR destroyed the crossing at Co-op on the morning of the meeting, as I see it, as “insurance” in case the decision to close Co-op Road was reversed. Very interesting.

  2. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    And isn’t it interesting that the RR destroyed the crossing at Co-op on the morning of the meeting, as I see it, as “insurance” in case the decision to close Co-op Road was reversed. Very interesting.~

    And Mitt Romney says that CORPORATIONS are people, too!

    Looks like the LCBOS has thrown the landowners under the train.

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