Thursday, February 4, 2010
Board, tree farmers talk hauling permits
By SUE WATSON
Local Marshall County Forestry Association members Pat Woods and Buck Hobbs joined supervisors in executive session for about an hour Monday to work on an agreement that will help the county, haulers and harvesters get on the same page. Several weeks ago the board of supervisors issued a moratorium until March 1 on hauling heavy loads on county roads until winter weather eases.
Because the matters under discussion had potential for litigation, the discussions were behind closed doors. However, when supervisors came out they passed a motion to post notification to haulers and loggers and miners on the necessity of applying for and obtaining a permit to move heavy loads over county roads. The issue of a moratorium will be taken up at next week’s board meeting, they said.
Hobbs and Woods said they would do what they can to get word around to their membership regarding the requirement of a permit.
Tax collector Betty Byrd reported to the board on tax collections so far. January is the month when the largest numbers of tax dollars come into the tax office and February 2 unpaid real property taxes became delinquent.
For the month of January 2010, the tax office took in over $10 million and made 11,252 money transactions. Last year the total collection in January was about $8.5 million, Byrd said.
Of the $10 million or so that was collected in January about $5.5 million belongs to the county, the rest going to municipalities, the school districts, etc.
“Collections of real property are up,” Byrd said. “But, this is going to be the biggest month because motor vehicle collections collected for the state are down about $130,000.”
Last year the county collected about $55,000 less in motor vehicle registrations than it had the year before, she said. And since new tag sales are down due to a slump in sales of new cars and trucks, the revenue coming in on tags is expected to stay down, she said.
Good news, however, is that the state of Mississippi has replenished its Legislative tag credit fund so the county is getting its money back for tag credits regularly. Last summer the state had fallen behind in reimbursements.
“Things look good right now,” Byrd said, “but I don't foresee it staying that way. It’s (collections are) steadily going down.”
Over half the ad valorem tax that the tax office expects to collect for the current fiscal year is in the bank, she said.
In other business, the board of supervisors:
• learned that the estimated damage to county roads this winter due to weather and other factors is about $1.47 million. County administrator Larry Hall said a survey of pot holes and soft spots on county roads and the price to repair damages in today’s costs was estimated and would be available to the state agencies.
• discussed two voting poll changes including one at Highway 72 and the other at Cornersville (Swain’s Store).
• heard a report from Hall on icy weather over the weekend. He said crews worked Friday and most of Saturday spreading mix and trimming tree limbs, primarily pine limbs, that fell across county roads, mostly in the northern part of the county.
• discussed setting up a site to house bodies at the request of the county coroner, James Richard Anderson. He said prices for autopsies, blood analysis and transportation of corpses for autopsy have escalated sharply.
Procedures have changed at the state laboratory where autopsies are being conducted in the day instead of overnight. Anderson said he and his deputy coroner John Garrison are having trouble with the new transportation schedule since they are employed full-time with funeral homes during the day. New procedures are also requiring that counties secure enough cooled space for a dozen or so bodies should a disaster occur, Anderson said.
He said efforts are underway to get an autopsy facility in either Batesville or Tupelo to make transportation of bodies easier.
He said budgets for space and equipment should be included in next year’s county budget but having a cool room before summertime would help to store bodies temporarily before they go to autopsy.
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