Less than two weeks before a state law goes into effect requiring contractors to get construction permits to do work in unincorporated areas, the
Jones County Board of Supervisors discussed it again during a wide-ranging meeting.
“A lot of counties like us are still trying to figure out what to do,” said Chief Administrative Officer Danielle Ashley, who also serves as board attorney. She has looked at drafts of proposals from other counties that are scrambling to meet the new requirement that was passed in the last Legislative session and goes into effect July 1. Some counties are going through the E-911 coordinator to register and issue the permits, she said, but it isn’t known yet which department will oversee it here.
Stan Jones of Taylorsville made a pitch to the board for his company DataLynks to offer an online option for residents or contractors to fill out an application and file it. His company does a similar service for Harrison County and is working with others that are facing the same deadline that Jones County is to get a system in place. The setup fee for the software is $1,200, then $1,800 per year after that.
There’s still a lot of confusion about the new ordinance, which has “no teeth for enforcement,” Supervisor Larry Dykes said. “If someone in the county wants to build a shed to put hay in, they don’t want anyone telling them they can’t.”
Jones said it was his understanding that if a property owner is acting as his own contractor, no permit is required. Also, there is no cost to apply, but the permit fee is based on the amount of the square footage and whether it’s heated/cooled, etc., he said of what some other counties are doing.
The new law was a hot topic at a recent convention of state supervisors, Dykes said.
“It was my understanding that FEMA will not pay unless the there was a permit” if a property is damaged during a natural disaster, Dykes said.
Board President Johnny Burnett said, “It’s all real new to us ... we’re struggling to do it before (July 1).”
Supervisors emphasized that the new ordinance is being mandated by the state, not the county.
In another matter, the board heard from Bob Stone about an ongoing issue with abandoned gas tanks adjacent to the Laurel Jones County Library in downtown Laurel. Filling the three empty tanks with dirt to meet Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality requirements for making them safe to overlay will cost $31,500.
“We don’t have that in our budget,” said Stone, who is president of the library board.
He asked for supervisors to help with the cost. Burnett said he would check with the city to see if it could chip in to help cover some of the cost, then get back to him.
In another ongoing issue, some residents of Dacetown Road told the board that the ditches were cut along the roadway and some potholes were filled, but that repaired areas washed out again with the most recent rain. They were discouraged, asking if they have to come before the board every time there’s a new pothole.
Burnett advised that they call the Beat 4 road supervisor. He also noted that with proposed redistricting, Dacetown Road will be in Beat 5, so some issues like that are “being ironed out” right now, he said.
The board approved Beat 5 Supervisor Travares Comegys’ request for a new Ford F250 truck at a cost of $38,130. Comegys, who was participating in the meeting by speakerphone, asked that Chief Financial Officer Charles Miller get lease-purchase quotes on financing the truck, and the board agreed.
Supervisors also agreed to allocate $1,900 for Circuit Clerk Concetta Brooks to hire someone to deliver, set up and pick up ballot-scanners at the 36 voting precincts in Jones County in November. Beat 3 Supervisor Phil Dickerson talked about a request from Rodney Wolfe to repair a pond that got silt in it from work that was done by the county on adjacent ditches. He filed a request with the Office of State Auditor and is “waiting to hear” if it’s OK to do the work on private property, he said.
The board voted 4-1 to approve school-bus turn-arounds at 34 Russell Lane and 39 Red Oak Lane (both in Beat 4) and 106 Burnt Bridge Road (Beat 5). Beat 4 Supervisor David Scruggs voted against it.
Scruggs reappointed Danny Shows as the Beat 4 representative on the Economic Development Authority, but appointments for Beat 3 and the at-large representative were tabled, as was the Beat 2 appointment to the board of South Central Regional Medical Center.
New Laurel Main Street Executive Director Caroline Burks introduced herself to supervisors and thanked them for their ongoing support of the agency.
The board also approved 10-year ad valorem tax exemptions for Amick Farms, Dunn Roadbuilders, Howard Industries, Laurel Machine & Foundry, Morgan Bros Millwork and Sanderson Farms, all of which had met the necessary requirements, Ashley said.