Road to project site being built, trapper gets new ATV
The Board of Supervisors hopes to fill the vacant Jones County Fire Coordinator seat by the end of the month to avoid the possibility of the county losing its fire rating.
The board has to replace longtime Fire Coordinator Dan McKenna within 30 days “or at least be working to fill the position,” county Chief Administrative Officer Danielle Ashley told the board at Monday’s meeting. She said that’s what she learned in a recent conversation with the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
The last day for McKenna, who had served as fire coordinator since 2003, was July 26. The board agreed to advertise in the Leader-Call for his replacement in the position, which is classified as part-time.
In the interim, any new business inspections that have to be done in the unincorporated areas of the county will be performed by Sgt. J.D. Carter, who is arson investigator for the Jones County Sheriff’s Department.
Ashley, who also serves as the board’s attorney, said there is an Attorney General’s opinion that says only the fire coordinator and arson investigator can be responsible for inspections, not the chiefs of volunteer fire departments.
“We have a mutual agreement with the city,” Supervisor Jerome Wyatt said. “We can ask them to do it until we hire someone.”
Sheriff Alex Hodge agreed to let Carter do inspections until the board hires a new fire coordinator, and the board agreed.
“We need to get some applications and make a decision,” Supervisor Johnny Burnett said.
In other business, the board agreed to split the costs of a road-building project at Pine Belt Regional Airport with Forrest County — up to $60,000 each. The National Guard is building the roadbed to the 150-acre economic-development site at the end of Superior Drive. The work is being paid for with a $250,000 matching grant, supervisors said.
In another matter, the board unanimously agreed to pay contractor MAGCO $123,000 for the recent replacement of a bridge on Lower Myrick Road. The Laurel-based company bid $491,459.52 to complete the project and state funds provided most of that amount, $380,000. The $123,000 will come from recent bond money the board received to do road and bridge work.
The board also opened bids for an ATV that will be used by county animal trapper Bo Parker. Laurel Honda/Yamaha had the low bid of $7,231, besting the bid from a Hattiesburg dealer by more than $1,000.
Supervisors also agreed to enter into an agreement with a company to provide drug-testing for Jones County Drug Court participants, and drug-seizure money will be used to pay for it.
The board also agreed to issue a permit to Venture Oil to do seismic testing in Moselle, near Beeson Road, on property where the Jones County School District owns the mineral rights.
Supervisors also agreed to make some adjustments to some roads, abandoning David Hudson Road in Beat 1 to make it a private drive and taking Caylee Lane in the Bridgewater subdivision and making it a public road instead of a private drive. Supervisor David Scruggs also agreed to change a road in Beat 4 from G.W. Tisdale Road to C.W. Tisdale Road.
Supervisors also got the OK to clean private property on Jerry Doggett Drive, where a woman with no family recently died.
They also agreed unanimously to donate $5,000 to the upcoming PRCA Rodeo, $1,500 to sponsor the Family Health Center’s third annual 5K walk/run Obesity Challenge and $150 to the Laurel Football Booster Club.
Ad valorem tax exemptions for Howard Industries, and Laurel Machine and Foundry were also granted final approval by the board.
Supervisors’ next meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19 at the courthouse in Laurel.