Thursday, May 18, 2006
Residents oppose horse racing tracks
By SUE WATSON
Over a dozen citizens appealed to the Marshall County Board of Supervisors last week to stop horse racing in their neighborhoods.
Delores Love, a spokeswoman for the residents living in the Humphrey Road area, said horse racing disturbs established community life.
An active horse track has held races on Petty Road since last fall and a new track appears to be under construction at the end of Humphrey Road.
Love said the community is concerned about the race track being built on Humphrey Road. First a mobile home was permitted on the land; people moved in and now full-scale construction of a race track, bleachers and concession stand is underway, she said.
Residents told the board they do not like the traffic coming through the heart of their residential/agricultural lands.
“We have invested in our homes and property and when we bought it, we bought agricultural/residential (zoning),” Love said. “If we do not enforce the law people can come in and do what they want.”
George Powell, living in the same area, said, “There is already one like this in the county.”
One resident wanted the entrepreneurs to tear down what they had constructed already on Petty Road off St. Paul Road below Warsaw.
Zoning director Conway Moore told supervisors the race track issues have not been addressed.
“I do not understand how anyone can do this without going through the Planning Commission,” said Willie Flemon, District 1 supervisor. “They did. They bypassed zoning altogether. The laws in the county require everyone go through zoning.”
“That’s not allowed in a residential area, right?” asked Eddie Dixon, District 2 supervisor.
“If they are doing it just for themselves as a hobby, they can,” Moore said.
Flemon motioned the board send the race track operators a letter explaining the board’s position on the matter and Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett seconded. The motion passed.
Dixon explained that it takes time to get something stopped once it has started.
One resident said he believes the track on Humphrey Road is being put in to make money.
“Can we do anything about the one off St. Paul Road?” he asked.
John McClatchy, a landowner in the Humphrey Road area, was opposed to the horse track.
“It can’t bring nothing good out there,” he said.
Road and Bridge Report
County engineer Larry Britt recommended, and the board approved, the site plan for Carriage Manor Subdivision after the county received a $40,000 bond from the developer.
Supervisors approved use of a grass blanket for soil support instead of sod on sandy soil - a savings of $8,100 - on the Strickland Road project.
Subdivision regulations changes that would stop subdivision road construction during the rainy season are expected to be ready for review at the next meeting, he said.
The contractor has not begun improvements on Hernando Road, a project that has worried supervisors. Britt said the contractor will have about a month to get work going before the county could seek liquidated damages for failure to complete the project as scheduled.
The bridge on Marianna Road could be ready for paving next week, Britt said.
Betty Yates and Clencie Cotton were on the agenda requesting that Marshall and Benton counties consider jointly funding a workforce training center to boost employment.
Yates asked for funding of a “One-Stop-Shopping” center that would handle both unemployment applications and workforce training. The City of Holly Springs would offer the use of the Information Technology Center, she said.
Two positions at $32,000 per annum would be required to handle and Northwest Community College would be asked to come in three days a week to help out with training, she said.
Yates noted that the unemployment office is open only four hours a week in Holly Springs - not adequate for the work that needs doing. She claimed some 300 work applicants who are looking for jobs.
Yates noted that people who go to the unemployment office often are not aware that workforce training exists.
“We have no jobs here and I think people deserve a place to go,” she said.
Supervisors from both Benton County and Marshall, said they have no money left in this year’s budget that is not already spoken for.
Bill Renick, director of Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, noted that there is no full-time WIN Center in the area, but one is needed. He said Marshall County “is due a full-time facility.”
Some funding could become available for employment security through Three Rivers Planning and Development District, but the numbers (demand) have to justify a need before any money from the state can be asked for, he said.
Renick said a full-time WIN Center would be “a very, very important recruiting tool for us.”
Supervisors approved development of a Tax Increment Financing Plan for the county. The measure would open the way for financing bonds for specific projects to pay for the laying of utilities and roads. Bonds would be retired from the extra property taxes coming from the development of land or improvement of economically depressed municipal zones because property taxes are much higher for developed land and improved properties.
The board approved funding to get the Byhalia area tax office open by July. The office will be open on a part-time basis until next fiscal year. The office is shared by the Sheriff’s Department.
Lt. Tracy Jeffries was appointed as arson investigator for the county.
The board also submitted preclearance documents with the U.S. Department of Justice on two voting precinct changes
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