Supervisors make bond reserve fund payment

By Amanda McBride
The Choctaw Plaindealer

The January 20 meeting of the Choctaw County Board of Supervisors was held at the J.P. Coleman Building, across from the courthouse. The meeting was opened then moved due to the Choctaw County Recall Grand Jury and Webster County Circuit Court taking place at the courthouse.

The supervisors approved to transfer funds to make the required $250,000 reserve fund payment on the hospital bonds.

Steve Montgomery, Chancery Clerk, said the payment is budgeted but the county does not have the funds yet. He requested the board to move funds into the bond payment account to make the payment before February 1.

District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers said the board could not make bond payments until the board approves the bond. Chambers says the board only approved a resolution and that the bond purchase agreement has never been presented to the board.

District 3 Supervisor Chris McIntire, also board president, said that issue was been “reviewed over and over.”

After more discussion, the board approved in a 4-1 vote to transfer $180,000 out of Fund 001-General County to Fund 225 and authorize the $250,000 payment to the bond sinking fund.

Only $180,000 was transferred because the bond fund was $70,000 in it.

Chambers said he voted against the payment “because you have personal liability in it.”

Jim Blackwood, representing Choctaw Regional Medical Center, requested the board to transfer all assets relating to the hospital, nursing home and clinics from the county to the hospital inventory.

In the discussion, it was said the county would keep ownership of the items and would only transfer them as inventory. The county would still make lease payments on necessary items.

After more discussion, the board approved to transfer the requested assets as inventory.

Also in the board meeting, David Gerhart and Mike Thomas with the Red Hills Mine made a presentation about the possible EPA regulation 111d.

Gerhart said that 111d or the Clean Power Plan plans to cut emissions by 50 percent.

If this regulation goes into action then it could have a major impact on the Red Hills Mine and the Red Hills Operations.

EPA plans to make 111d a regulation this summer.

Thomas and Gerhart encouraged the supervisors to contact legislators to try to stop this regulation.
During their presentation, Thomas gave the board the results of an economic impact study to see how the local economy would be affected if the coal mine and power plant closed. The coal mine is the number one employer in Choctaw County and the power plant is the third largest employer in the county.

The county and the state could lose approximately $11 million if both plants were possibly close at some point.

Approved:
-Contract a one-year contract with American Municipal Services to allow them to collect on the county’s outstanding debt due to unpaid fines.
-Reappoint Jan Ganann to the Community Counseling Board of Trustees.
-Resignation of District 2 Election Commissioner Charles Beck.
-To appoint Sharon Brooks as the District 2 Election Commissioner until a special election can be held.
-Applications for the Solid Waste law enforcement officer competitive and non-competitive grants.
-Solid Waste assessments and deletions.
-Medical leave for Reba Nowell for 4-6 weeks.
-To appoint Anthony McGee, Alan Hovas and Danny Reed to the Airport Board.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be Friday, January 30 at 9 a.m. at the courthouse.