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Sheriff Arledge, Supes Discuss Seized Narcotics Funds

Columbus Federal Programs Special Assistant George Irby speaks with the supes about a connection path to link the new soccer complex with the Riverwalk.

The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors met Friday the 13th at the courthouse for their mid-month meeting. After adopting the Agenda, approving Board Minutes for the January 3rd meeting and accepting a new county road (called Avalon Drive, off of Wolf Road) the supervisors heard from City of Columbus Federal Programs Special Assistant George Irby about a transportation enhancement grant.
The project is a grant from MDOT that would provide funds for a connection path between the new soccer complex and the Riverwalk. Irby told the supes that he’d been there before speaking about the project, but since they had a new member on the board (District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham), he’d give him the “Readers Digest version”. Irby said he’d already gone before the Columbus City Council about matching funds in the amount of $60,000. He said they had put the application in in the name of the city, but the city had already received $2,000,000 in grants. MDOT suggested that they put the application in the name of Lowndes County. Irby said the application was due Friday and asked to change the application name from the City of Columbus to Lowndes County. Irby said the matching funds were still in place.
The supervisors voted unanimously to grant Irby’s wishes.
County Engineer Bob Calvert brought an AT&T utility permit on Kolola Springs Road before the board seeking approval. The supes granted approval unanimously.
County Road Manager Ronnie Burns asked the supervisors for permission to advertise for several pieces of equipment for the road department. They include a motor grader, a mini-escavator, a track dozer, a Power brain, two dump trucks and one dump trailer. Burns said it was for permission to advertise for bids and not purchase. The supervisors approved.
Lowndes County Sheriff Mike Arledge was next up. Arledge said that the sheriff’s department has two deputies assigned to the U.S. Marshall’s Department. He said the deputies are contract agents with the Marshall’s and that they have a good relationship with them. He said that the U.S. Marshall Service has purchased and donated 2 ballistic shields valued at $1800 apiece to the sheriff’s department. He needed approval from the supervisors to add the donated equipment to the department’s inventory. The supervisors approved unanimously.
A discussion about seized narcotics money then took place among Arledge and the supes. District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks was curious about how it worked. Sheriff Arledge explained that the money, though have being seized, would have to be awarded to the sheriff’s department by a judge before the department could use the money. The money could also be awarded back to the defendant it was seized from if it was determined by a judge that they so deserved it.
County Chief Financial Officer Dave Basinger explained to Brooks that the court, if the funds were awarded to the county, would write a check that would go into the general fund, and the supes could in-turn revert the money over to the narcotics department (of which Bobby Grimes is now in charge of). Arledge had explained that, by law, seized narcotics funds (after being awarded) should be returned to the narcotics division to be used at that department’s discretion.
County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said that the open board position for the Prairie Opportunity Board had received another applicant. Willie Petty had previously applied, but Billingsley said that District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith had also applied. Brooks made a motion to appoint Smith to the board. His motion was seconded by District 3 Supervisor John Holliman. Smith received the appointment.
Billingsley also told the supervisors that former District 2 Supervisor Frank Ferguson sat on 3 boards…the Link board, the Airport board and the Main Street board. He asked that the supervisors fill the positions. District 3 Supervisor John Holliman made a motion to put Bill Brigham on the 3 boards. Brooks spoke up and asked to be appointed to the Main Street board. The supervisors agreed and appointed Brooks to Main Street and Brigham to Link and Airport. Billingsley said that the length of the term of the board appointments will be the rest of the particular supervisors’ term.
The supervisors went on to, again, reset the property hearing for the Riverside Drive property. It was reset for February 15th.
The next supervisor meeting is set for Tuesday, January 31st at 9 a.m. inside the boardroom at the Lowndes County Courthouse.

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