Thursday, August 13, 2009
Rail yard increases interest in county
By SUE WATSON
Just a week or so after the announcement by Norfolk Southern that it will build an intermodal yard in neighboring Rossville, Tenn., Marshall County is getting more looks.
Bill Mobley, executive director of the Industrial Development Authority, said the last week of July saw five consultants coming to tour the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park. Entry to the intermodal yard is expected to be from Highway 72 in the Chickasaw Industrial Park area in Marshall County.
Interest in several other projects are still active, he said, including interest in the GEM building in Byhalia.
In road construction news at the board of supervisors meeting last week, Kevin McLeod with Elliott and Britt Engineers said construction of phase III of the North Holly Springs bypass road could commence in about four weeks. A pre-construction conference will be held with the contractor so all paperwork is completed. He said there is more documentation and reporting required when economic stimulus monies are used.
A conceptual plan for the Potts Camp Sports Complex, which calls for a football and baseball field and track, has been drawn so that all the fields will fit on the site, McLeod said.
Other projects active include the HRRR project with State Aid on Cayce Road which is scheduled for a bid date of September 8, and the close out on an HRRR project on Hernando and Wall Hill Roads.
Sen. Bill Stone and consultant Gary Anderson met with supervisors briefly to report that the state approved a $500,000 authorization for a road construction bond and bond dollars for a fire truck for Cayce Fire Department, bonds to be issued in October in the state's overall funding package.
Anderson and Stone asked the board of supervisors to be thinking of what types of projects it want to go to the 2010 legislative session with in coming months well in advance of the session.
Chancery clerk Chuck Thomas recommended and the board approved payment of $130,000 owned on a fire truck that comes from state monies. The fire department will pay for the remainder owed through a Rural Development grant of $45,000, he said.
Claims for the month ending July totaled $502,159 he said.
Two pauper’s funerals were approved, one in Willie Flemon’s district and one in George Zinn’s district.
Thomas said most summer youth workers were finished with their program and that the workers contributed a lot to the county workforce.
All supervisors agreed the youth had performed well. They were paid out of economic stimulus package dollars through President Obama and Congressional legislation this year.
County administrator Larry Hall asked to close out an Appalachian Regional Council grant for ramps, handrails and a walk at the museum. The historical museum recently renovated, is expected to reopen in several months, he said.
The board also approved an extension of a Community Development Block Grant so a $5,000 administrative fee can be collected by the North East Mississippi Planning and Development District which administered the grant at the Lighthouse Plastics building.
The board approved the third drawdown on the HOME program for a new home that cost $33,000 to restore.
Hall said road and bridge work has been slowed this summer by unseasonably heavy and frequent rains in July. Work to repair soft spots in county roads has taken twice as long to finish, he said.
Some areas where road stabilization has been in progress includes Parker and Whipperwill roads, O’Dell and Blackwater Roads, and Moore Road.
Control of roadside growth with herbicide spray has improved the looks of roads this year, he said.
Hall said some of the older ones in the youth program have been retained until August 14.
“That program has helped and some of these folks are going to miss them,” he said. “I wish the program could be expanded to hire a lot more kids.”
Supervisors discussed in closed session a request to dedicate a section of Hernando Road to the memory of the late Alvin Warren Sr. Warren lived on Hernando Road and owned a theater in the area. He was instrumental in helping get rights-of-way deeds along the stretch of Hernando Road between Victoria and and Highway 309. Supervisors will vote on the measure to dedicate the road in the memory of Alvin Warren Sr. at the Monday, August 17 meeting.
The community is asked to contact supervisor Zinn or Hall (252-7903), to offer comment or attend the August 17 meeting which begins at 9 a.m.
The board attorney scheduled several tax appeals before the supervisors and he conducted a public hearing on a lot clean-up request by zoning director Conway Moore. Afterward two bids were opened for clean-up of a lot at 1859 Highway 309 North in Byhalia. The board approved the low bid of Alton’s & Sons for $1,175. Ellie Mae’s Cleaning Service in Potts Camp bid $1,500.
The cost to clean up the lot will be assessed to the property-owner’s tax roll.
Supervisor Keith Taylor lamented that the general public erroneously believes that the board of supervisors sets the budget and ad valorem tax for the Marshall County School District. He said dozens of citizens have been complaining to him about a publicized increase in the mill rate for the upcoming school year.
Moore said she has been approached numerous times by the public about the proposed ad valorem tax increase.
The school board has notified of their increase, Taylor said.
“That is the Marshall County School System, not the board of supervisors, and if they ask for it (an increase), we have to grant it,” he said.
Supervisor Willie Flemon agreed.
“I don’t think we should get blames for something they are doing,” he said.
“People came up to me everywhere and complained thinking it was the board of supervisors,” Moore said. “I corrected them. The supervisors have no choice in the matter. I tell them to talk to the school board or Mr. Randolph (superintendent).”
For the next fiscal year, the Marshall County School District plans to increase the school district’s ad valorem tax millage rate by 4.5 mills from 32.08 mills to 36.58 mills. The increase means Marshall County taxpayers will pay more in ad valorem school district taxes on their home, automobile tag, utilities, business fixtures and equipment and rental property.
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