Thursday, May 20, 2010
County hashes road problems
By SUE WATSON
An important road in the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park has some problems with the subgrade which has soaked up rain water over the winter since October and is holding it.
Larry Britt, county engineer, told the board of supervisors the contractor is having huge problems working the road. It was scheduled to be a three-lane road that will provide a truck route for ingress and egress into a critical section of the park from Highway 302.
Britt said the county does not have the money to dig out the subgrade and the contractors do not either.
County administrator Larry Hall said it would take 60 days for the soil to “cook and dry” before construction could resume.
“The topping will be soil cement, but we have a problem with the subgrade,” Britt said. “It is wet four to five feet deep.”
Britt said the road is critical to the traffic in the park and has to be built to hold up. But it will not if the problem with water logging of the soil is not corrected, he said.
Britt said the problem is not the fault of the contractor who did not know what was under the road.
Hall said the road is important for jobs and for development and is being paid for by federal stimulus dollars.
Britt said the situation could not be solved without consultation with engineers with State Aid Division of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Supervisors discussed a bridge replacement on Beale Road to be programed with State Aid. Britt said the bridge should be programed and on the shelf in case a second round of stimulus money becomes available.
Hall reported that some dollars may be available for infrastructure needs from the Northeast Planning and Development District. A water extension project to Jeffries Road may put some of those dollars to good use, he said.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett said the extension requires boring under Highway 78. Hall added that the PDD is looking to put money to work for the benefit of the most numbers of individuals in the county.
Juanita Dillard, tax assessor, reported on tax assessment on grain bins and silos.
“We are not doing anything we haven’t done in the past,” she said. “If it has value, we tax. And we depreciate.”
The board entertained a lengthy discussion of putting in place policies for internal controls and safeguards to track expenditures on grants. The state requires audits on any projects with funding up to $500,000, according to Chuck Thomas, chancery clerk. He agreed with state auditor recommendations that no grants be accepted until the grant has been researched by all departments affected. He also recommended five days leeway before a purchase order request is put into effect.
Supervisor George Zinn III, asked, “What was the real purpose?”
“It is money that has already come out of Washington and now they are chasing it with rules,” Thomas said.
Attorney Kent Smith said the sheriff’s department has vigorously pursued grants to upgrade positions and equipment but some grants require in the last year of the grant that employees paid with grant monies be paid from county funds.
“We have to be sure we can comply with grants in years where the county has to fund positions,” he said.
The board of supervisors unanimously approved implementing policies to assist in tracking grant requirements.
In other business, the board of supervisors:
• approved paying 2010 dues to the National Association of County Officials - $699.
• discussed ditch work to redirect water in a subdivision on DeSoto Road, the installation of a drain pipe at the corner of Watson and Hawks Feed Mill, and work on a ball field at Potts Camp.
• heard a budget concern from coroner James Richard Anderson, who said his department is getting low on body bags and funds to restock because of unexpected increases in the cost of autopsies at the state lab, which he said have doubled.
Autopsies cost the county around $3,000, including transportation costs, and private individuals, who request an autopsy that the coroner does not think is needed, must pay $5,000, he said.
He said the budget next year will have to be increased to reflect these new charges and for the cost of transportation of bodies to Jackson for autopsy. The county is also looking at providing refrigeration when bodies must be kept in a morgue while awaiting disposition.
• learned that the interchange at Highway 72 where the connector road will join the county with the intermodal yard in Rossville is still in the design phase. And the single lane stretch on Highway 72 is not set to be four-laned until 2012, the year the intermodal yard is expected to be completed. The truck traffic to the intermodal yard is not expected to reach its maximum capacity until 2015 or beyond.
• heard a recommendation from supervisor Eddie Dixon that a committee be formed to work with people who have homes or property in commercial zones at the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park.
“They bought their land in good faith, and we should make it more comfortable,” Dixon said. “We need the development, but we want to make it comfortable to people who invested in land (in Chickasaw Trail).”
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