Brooks Was Tending to Juneteenth
The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors met for their mid-June meeting without District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks last Friday. Brooks had walked out of the Monday, June 4 meeting in a huff over a conversation brought up about his alleged cursing of County Administrator Ralph Billingsley over an iPhone. Brooks didn’t attend Friday’s meeting (though he showed up at the courthouse and left prior to the start of the meeting) because he was tending to the affairs of the Juneteenth celebration that was going on at Sims Scott Park.
State Representative Jeff Smith, who serves as the chairman of the Ways and Means committee, filled in as board attorney in the absence of Tim Hudson. Smith and Hudson are law partners at the law firm Sims & Sims.
Public Hearing Held For Abandonment of Jenny Penn Road in District 4
Attorney Doug Dalrymple addressed the board on behalf of two property owners just south of Jenny Penn Road. Dalrymple asked the board to table the abandonment of the road while negotiations were ongoing between his clients and the property owner around the road itself. His clients are negotiating to buy the property.
The board tabled the matter. Attorney Jeff Smith advised Board President Harry Sanders that the board didn’t have to re-advertise the hearing. They can simply entertain a motion at the next meeting to bring it off the table.
Becky Cunningham Appears Before the Board
Becky Cunningham, the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator for Lowndes and Noxubee counties, appeared before the board to seek approval to accept a federal grant that pays her salary. The board voted unanimously to do so. Cunningham also informed the board that the grant included money for her to buy a computer. She stated that the county would be the owner of the computer.
In Other Board Action:
• Donated some surplus computers to the Columbus/Lowndes Recreational Authority;
• Lowndes Fire Administrator Sammy Fondren told the board that he had gathered quotes for repairs on the District 1 fire truck. After gathering nine separate quotes, Fondren stated that Bob’s Paint and Body was the only body shop that could accommodate such a large truck. He recommended that Bob’s be given the work. The quote, including repair, paint and labor, totaled $9,490. The insurance company had already paid the claim, said Fondren. The board voted to accept the bid and award the work to Bob’s.
• Fondren told the supes that the District 2 Fire Department board had voted to advertise to have the current District 2 Fire Department building (on Jess Lyons Road) torn down to make way for a new one to be constructed. Fondren said that the new facility would be a four-bay building modeled after the recently completed new fire station in District 3. Sanders asked Fondren where the fire equipment will be located while one building is being torn down and another constructed [It could take months to tear one down and re-construct another at the same site. – RW]. The concern was the fire rating with available equipment in case of a fire. Fondren said the equipment would still be located within District 2 during the transition. Attorney Jeff Smith advised that as long as the equipment was housed in District 2, it shouldn’t have an affect on the county fire rating. The board gave permission to advertise the tearing down of the current station and to recoup any salvageable steel. Any further action will come back to the board in the near future as plans progress.
• Fondren also asked for permission on behalf of the District 3 Fire Station board to possibly build a new station to replace the antiquated Rural Hill fire station building. He said that the current building has roof issues, including rotting and leaking. He said that the new metal building would be a three-bay building (which is the amount of equipment they currently have). He also stated that the current Rural Hill building has a small bathroom and no meeting or training rooms whatsoever. A new, proposed building could include that, and Fondren believed that the new building could cost less than $100,000. [The recently completed new fire station in District 3 is located in New Hope. -RW] The actual motion was to give permission to advertise on the tearing down of the building. As in the District 2 matter, any further matters will be discussed in future meetings. The board voted to give permission to advertise. District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith asked that Fondren come back to the board with an evaluation of other county fire facilities that may need improvements in the future, for long range discussion.
• Tombigbee River Valley Water (TRVW) Management District Project Director Richard Bryant came before the board next. He filled the board in on current ongoing projects involving the TRVW. In explaining the current projects, Bryant reminded the board that the US Army Corp of Engineers looks at and discusses all projects before the TRVW moves forward with any of them.
• County Administrator Ralph Billingsley brought the updated Inter-Local Agreement for the Narcotics Task Force to the table. The agreement would be between the county and the city (Sheriff Mike Arledge and Police Chief Selvain McQueen). The original agreement called for four agents from each agency. The updated agreement would call for at least three from each agency. [Attorney Jeff Smith advised that it would have to be approved by the state attorney general. -RW] The city had already approved the agreement and the county voted to do the same.
• Pending the outcome of the neighborhood parks project, Billingsley asked that the supervisors wait to possibly amend the CLRA budget on behalf of Director Roger Short. The supes voted to do so.
• Voted to run an ad setting a property hearing for 154 Nottingham Lane (located in the Sherwood Forest Subdivision) for July 13 at 9:15 a.m.
• Heard from Billingsley on the Riverside Drive property. Billingsley said that progress had been made on the structure. The board had previously given the property owner time to complete work on the dilapidated structure and grounds. The board extended the period to July 2.
• The board moved to recognize Wednesday, July 4, as a county holiday.
• Heard a recommendation from District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith that a traffic counter device be placed on south Lehmberg Road. After some discussion, Sanders advised that attorney Jeff Smith might call Northern District Highway Commissioner Mike Tagert. In response, Attorney Smith stated, “It’ll be done before noon today!”
The next scheduled board meeting will be Monday, July 2, at 9 a.m.