Jones County has more than $2 million from the federal government for COVID-related “loss revenue,” and the Board of Supervisors has plenty of latitude for how to spend it.

County officials calculated a loss of $2,176,566 for the county in 2020 because of the pandemic, Chief Financial Officer Charles Miller told the board in their most recent meeting.

The county has already received $6.6 million from the federal government this year and will get $6.6 million next year. The “loss revenue” can be calculated each year through 2024, and it should be a similar amount each year, Miller said. The funds can be used for a wide range of things, from repairing roads and bridges to purchasing fire trucks.

One project the fund could pay for is the replacement of the HVAC system and ductwork in the Jones County courthouse in Ellisville. A comprehensive study showed that the system needed to be replaced instead of repaired, Wiley Pickering of Clark Engineering told the board. The only question for supervisors was whether they wanted to replace it with the same kind of system at a cost of $726,100 or with an all-electric system at a cost of $609,500. Engineers recommended going all-electric, and the board agreed in a unanimous decision.

The county was also reimbursed $144,774.77 with a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for work that has already been completed on the courthouse, including reroofing and exterior masonry.

In other business, the county had to increase the value of the new fleet of Jones County Sheriff’s Department vehicles by $114,000 to include the cost of lighting that was added to each of the 20 Dodge Durango SUVs. The State Auditor’s Office advised the JCSD to make that change.

The board also OK’d the JCSD’s updated list of unmarked vehicles and the

withdrawal of $3,000 to use as drug-buy cash for undercover work. Supervisors approved the appointment of Laurel High football coach Ryan Earnest to serve on the Jones College board, filling the remainder of Jeannine Agee’s term, which expires in 2023. He was appointed by Beat 5 Supervisor Travares Comegys. They also OK’d the appointment of Danny Shows to fill the remainder of Eddie Endom’s term on the Jones County Economic Development Authority board, which expires in February 2022.

He was appointed by Beat 4 Supervisor David Scruggs. The board also approved a request by Chris Albritton Construction to subcontract a portion of the Ovett-Moselle bridge project to Keyes Construction. Supervisors also granted a utility permit to Calhoun Water Association for work on Honeysuckle Trail and they OK’d a private cemetery for the Dinwiddie family off Indian Springs Church Road after the family turned in the proper paperwork, Supervisor Larry Dykes said.

Board chief administrative officer and attorney Danielle Ashley got permission to apply for the Leadership Mississippi program and she was approved as the designated applicant agent for FEMA claims re- lated to Hurricane Ida. The county was spared by the storm but incurred “a little bit of overtime” because of it, she said.

Ashley also announced that Insurance Commissioner/State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney had signed off on the board’s contract with the Jones County Fire Council to provide fire service, making that official.

“I’m proud we got that settled,” board President Johnny Burnett said. “It worked out well for the county, the fire departments and for the protection of all the homeowners in the county.”

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