Supervisors cancel county fair, add to solid waste crews

Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton checks the temperature of Tax Assess-Collector Tameri Dunnam before the board meeting starts.
May 20th, 2020     Government & Politics

The Union County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to cancel the Union County Fair, scheduled for July 14-18. The vote came as a result of concern over the spread of the COVID-19 illness.

There was no word as to whether the fair might be rescheduled later in the year, but that discussion would have to start with the Union County Fair Association board of directors.

The coronavirus continues to affect some county services and all county offices remain formally locked with citizens asked to call if they need services.

One particular area that has suffered is in the road and solid waste departments.

The county has relied on the help of jail trusties, especially in garbage collection, but the state is no longer allowing their use during the coronavirus pandemic.

This past month the board approved hiring some youth summer workers to help but supervisors added more at their meeting Monday.

Hired as summer workers were Hunter Gage Fellows, Nicholas Lamontagne, Joshua Stephen Basil and Robert Parks. The hiring necessitated moving $45,000 from the working cash budget to the solid waste personal services budget.

Supervisors are trying to move ahead with repair and renovation of the old jail and the county courthouse, but ran into a delay Monday.

The county had advertised for contractors to submit prequalification information, as required because the project is being funded by a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. None was received.

Architect William Mills speculated that although some contractors had expressed interest, they did not want to take the trouble needed to assemble the information. Mills said when this happened before the archives and history department allowed contractors to submit their qualifications along with the actual bids. He said he would notify the department and report back on what they would allow.

The grant primarily is for a new roof on the old jail building and some renovation on courthouse windows and other work not previously done.

Sheriff Jimmy Edwards reported that he is running into some difficulty in getting new vehicles.

He told the board that he had requested two vehicles but there had been some problem in outfitting one and it had not been delivered. He said because of the auto manufacturing shutdown his department may not ever receive what he asked for.

As an alternative, Edwards asked for and received permission to purchase two vehicles from Asia Motors in the Chicago area. The company sells used vehicles and local government agencies have purchased from the company in the past.

Edwards said he could use the insurance payment from a patrol car wrecked during a recent storm to purchase a used 2013 Charger and 2015 Tahoe for school and DARE use at a cost of $36,340 for both.

Mark Garrett speaks to the board requesting storage space for civic center items.

In a public appearance, Mark Garrett asked the board if a 40-foot storage trailer could be placed somewhere on the fairgrounds property. The trailer would contain costumes, props and other items from the Magnolia Civic Center. “The MCC has a lack of storage space for costumes and props and can’t afford to build a building,” he said.

Garrett said the items would have little value to anyone other than the theatre but that a memorandum of understanding would absolve the county of any liability or responsibility for loss of the contents or trailer, or damage.

Board of Supervisors President Randy Owen responded that they would have to check with their attorney. Also, he said if they allowed one person to do this they could not say no to others, and they also were concerned with the possibility of the trailer being broken into.

Owen countered by suggesting that Garrett consider the New Albany Light, Gas and Water department electric warehouse, which has a large fenced and secure area.

Supervisors tabled the matter so various options for locations could be considered.

In other business, the board approved a manual check to move ahead work on a bridge approved at the previous meeting on County Road 46.

They approved the monthly budget report, the list of surrendered vehicle tags and paying the medical examiner-investigator for four death investigations.

They also approved paying claims for the five election commissioners, paying the circuit clerk for services as county registrar and approving registration checks for tax assessor-collector employees Josh Creekmore and Logan Nobles to attend the Certified Appraisers School in August and September in Starkville.

The next scheduled meeting of the board of supervisors will be at 10 a.m. Monday, June 1.

This week the board met back in the boardroom of the chancery court building because court was being held in the circuit courtroom and the chancery courtroom. Partly because social distancing was not as practical in the smaller room, Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton checked temperatures or those present and provided N95 masks to those without one as well.

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