Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Winston Supervisors Briefed on Fire Grading, Emergency Radios, Dean Park

The Winston County Board of Supervisors dealt with a number of issues this week in their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday. This included a review of possible new grant funds for a bridge project and the available state aid funds for roads eligible for repair and restriping in the county.

The board also heard from Dean Park officials concerning the installation of new grills, the disposal of old grills and an upcoming change in the park hours starting with the daylight savings time next Sunday. New park hours will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. . The board also received quotes for the baseball bleachers at the park and tabled for further discussion the need for additional funds for lighting.

Supervisors were also briefed on the hospital construction.  WMC CEO Paul Black noted that the construction had been ahead of schedule before all of the recent rain and that the project remains on schedule to complete all foundations by April 7th.

The board discussed the loss of inmates at the Winston County Regional Correctional Facility (WCCRCF). It was noted that the inmate population was down to 194 inmates and that the contract with the Mississippi Department of Correction requires payment for 200 inmates. The low number of state inmates creates a profitability issue for the facility.

EMA director Buddy King presented several issues to the board including the need to set a date for public hearing for grading of the Betheden Fire District.. King noted that there were eight fire districts in the county and none had ever been graded for insurance. With grading, there is a potential for as much as a 33% reduction in insurance rates for homeowners in these districts. Betheden would be the first of the district's to attempt to complete the grading process. The public hearing will be set for April 18th at 10 a.m.

King also raised issues concerning the County's emergency radio system. A previous system had been patched together through the years and after the 2014 tornado FEMA had agreed to pay for a new system but that system is still not effective according to King. "It is not reliable on the fringes," said King. 

The County has had the option to join a Statewide system but there has been concern about user fees associated with that system. The state has now agreed that no user fees would be charged, however the cost to upgrade radios and a system would be as much is $250,000 to the county. King wanted to raise the subject with supervisors to begin a public discussion about the possible addition of 2 tax mils to the county levy to help pay for this in the future.