Supervisors discuss fire rating, personnel policies

By Amanda McBride The Choctaw Plaindealer

The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors met October 1 in their first meeting of the month.

In this meeting, the board discussed a 90 day professional services agreement with Stone Adams Financial (Nick Walters) to develop the proposed regional economic development partnership with Webster and Montgomery Counties. The board discussed the agreement in their September 28 meeting but took not action.

District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers expressed concerns about Nick Walters past federal charges, misdemeanor conviction and why he will not support the agreement in the Oct 1 meeting. District 3 Supervisor Chris McIntire, also board president, said that Webster and Montgomery Counties approved the agreement on September 28.

Later in the meeting, Walters and Ron Bennett, president of the Choctaw County Economic Development Foundation, came into the meeting to discuss the professional services agreement.

“We are committed. Our board is fully behind it,” said Bennett.

Walters explained that he has worked as executive director for the foundation for two years and before that was hired as a consultant for the county. If the Regional Economic Development Partnership is formed, he expects to serve as executive director.

After more discussion, McIntire called for a motion to approve the agreement. District 2 Supervisor Larry McClain made the motion with a second from District 4 Supervisor David Carter. The motion passed in a 4-1 vote. Chambers voted against the agreement.

Fire district ratings On a different matter, Michael Holmes, chief of Bywy Volunteer Fire Department, asked the board about establishing grading districts for the Rating Bureau. He said it has been two years since Bywy VFD has completed the required paperwork and field work including a water haul. Holmes wanted to know why no more work has been done to schedule a rating test. Steve Montgomery, Chancery clerk, said the supervisors need to establish a grading district. The board said they need Chris Coleman, county fire coordinator, to present the grading district to them.

Holmes also asked the supervisors why they do not offer more training to the volunteer fire departments than the two free classes from the Mississippi Fire Academy. The supervisors said they would talk to Coleman about the issues.

Bridges’ bids approved

Bids were opened in the October 1 meeting to install two bridges on Pigeon Roost Road. The engineer’s estimate for the project was $1,836,690.09.

After reviewing the bids, the low bidder Joe McKee Construction with a bid of $1,361,373.60 was approved by the board. Other bids included: Dozer LLC $1,624,775, JJ Ferguson Sand and Gravel $1,854,544.10, Magco, Inc. $1,626,009.22, Phillips Contracting $1,923,044.66 and Prairie Construction $1,665,251.73.

Personnel policies on the table After approving to amend the budget to recognize Lori Fiebig, tax assessor/collector, the board discussed the personnel policy with her.

Fiebig said she has looked over personnel policies from several other places, and would like employees’ sick days to be counted by hours, not docked half a day for only one hour or so. McIntire suggested rounding up to one hour. For example, if an employee is out of work for one hour and 15 minutes for sick leave, it should be rounded up to two hours.

They also discussed changing the requirement of having a doctor’s excuse for one day of sick leave to allowing employees one day of sick leave without having a doctor’s excuse.

“If ya’ll don’t change it, I will adopt my own (personnel policy),” said Fiebig.

She also wants employees to have 60 days instead of 30 days for having surgery, maternity leave, etc.

Carter suggested allowing him to create a comparative of the county’s employee handbook to others the board has gathered for the next meeting. No action was taken at this time.

Other matters The Board of Supervisors also approved: -To receive the Justice Court aging report. -Jail inspection. -16 section leases. -To receive the 2011-2012 inventory deletion list. -Resolution for District 4 to apply for a Rural Development grant to purchase a tractor and bush hog, permission for the GTPPD to publish and hold a public hearing on October 31 at 10 a.m. -Transfer $32,915 from Fund 014 to Fund 0126 to pay for ambulance service. -For District 2 to transfer $4,002 to District 5 for gravel. -Claims. -For the sheriff to publish a deputy job opening in the newspaper.

The next meeting of the Choctaw County Board of Supervisors will be Monday, October 15 at 9 a.m. in the board room at the Courthouse.

September 28 meeting The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors held two public hearings in their September 28 meeting.

The first public hearing was to relocate portions of Salem-Bywy, Null, McIntire and Nebo Roads.

The Red Hills Mine requested the relocation to make the roads straighter before they return them to the county. Mike Thomas, with the mine, said they have signed right-of-way easements from all affected land owners.

There were no comments on the proposal to relocate portions of the stated roads. The supervisors approved a resolution to relocate portions of those roads.

The second public hearing was to temporarily close portions of McIntire, E. Clear Springs and Prewitt Roads by request of the Red Hills Mine or mining activity.

One family that owns a house on McIntire Road expressed concerns about having access to their home once the roads are closed. Rebecca McGrew, with the mine, said they are required by law to grant them access to their property when they ask.

Thomas said the mine installs gates which offer more security and less traffic in the area.

The board approved a resolution allowing the temporary road closures.

The supervisors also discussed a 90 day professional services agreement with Stone Adams Financial to develop the proposed regional economic development partnership with Webster and Montgomery Counties. Nick Walters will lead the development work and serve as executive director of the partnership once it is formed.

District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers asked the board to wait until Monday to vote on the agreement so he could have more time to read it.

Also in the meeting, the board discussed applying for the Solid Waste competitive and non-competitive grant with Phyllis Benson, with Golden Triangle Planning and Development District and Choctaw County Sheriff Cloyd Halford.

After a discussion of staff at the Sheriff’s Office, the board approved to apply for the non-competitive grant for the Solid Waste law enforcement officer and the competitive grant to clean up illegal dumpsites in the county.

The Board of Supervisor also approved: -Request from the Choctaw County School Board for District 5 to clean up a 16 section property that has been returned to the school district. -Inventory deletions. -Travel requests for Glynda Fulce-election commissioner, Brent McKnight-emergency management director, Lori Fiebig-tax assessor/ collector and Chris Coleman-fire coordinator to trainings in their field. -Payroll. -Intention to participate in MEMA mitigation plan and to appoint McKnight as county representative. -Application for payment to Amerson Construction for $100,028 subject to debris removal at hospital. Amerson is putting the new roof on the current hospital. -Solid Waste assessments. -Recognize 2012 state aid bridge postings. -Payment for construction on the new hospital and MOB totaling approximately $797,321. -To appoint a special prosecutor for the Clement case. Kevin Null recused himself. -For District 1to purchase a tractor, bush hog and trailer and also lease purchase financing from Hancock Bank for 60 months.