Bridge repair

Supervisors are seeking funds to repair seven more bridges in Jones County. (LL-C file photo)

Supervisors agreed to apply for funds to get seven more bridges on Jones County roads to be repaired or replaced next year.

Applications are being accepted through December and funds will be dispersed in January, County Engineer Ronnie Clark told the Board of Supervisors. The money is coming from “an extraordinary special session” of the Legislature in which $250 million was made available to counties for road and bridge work.

The bridges Clark picked had all been designated for work in the near future “before out-of-state inspectors closed 28 bridges in Jones County,”

He told the board. The bridges he submitted to be repaired or replaced with the state funds are on Rushton Road, Bush Dairy Road, Hines Road, Spurline Road, West Drive and Gene Morgan Road. Supervisor Barry Saul asked him to add one on West Main Street in Sandersville.

“There’s no guarantee that any of them will be approved,” Clark said, “but it doesn’t hurt to ask.”

Clark asked that board attorney/Chief Administrative Officer Danielle Ashley be given the authority to sign the application on behalf of the board and be the primary contact person for the state officials who will be deciding which projects to fund.

There is still $419,000 of $4.5 million in bond the board secured last year for road and bridge work, Chief Financial Officer Charles Miller said. There is also bond money available for work at the Ellisville courthouse and the Jones County jail.

Supervisor Johnny Burnett said that Trace Road is “coming to pieces” because of 18-wheeler traffic and “needs a lot of work.” It is a State Aid road, which is part of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Clark said additional funds won’t be available there until 2020.

Board President Jerome Wyatt said that bond expert Michael Russ will come speak to supervisors at their next meeting about what money is available and what it can be spent on.

Supervisors did unanimously OK getting more money for the seven employees at Jones County Justice Court who hadn’t received pay raises in seven years. The raises range from 50 cents to $1 per hour.

In another matter, the board approved Supervisor David Scruggs’ request to give a small piece of county property to Sand Hill Baptist Church on which to build a Family Life Center. 

In other business, supervisors also unanimously agreed to:

• A budget amendment to allow Tax Collector Ramona Blackledge to purchase four new vehicles for her office under state contract. Some in the fleet of economy cars are 15 years old, she said.

• Accept the low bid of Trustmark Bank of 3.39 percent for the lease-purchase of a backhoe in Beat 3;

• A utility permit for AT&T to do work on Formby Road;

• The advertising of bids for the lease-purchase of three garbage trucks in April.

The board’s next meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. Monday at the courthouse in Laurel.

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