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Oktibbeha supervisors stand by to aid storm recovery

 

Jason Browne

 

The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors broadcast the message Monday that the county is here to help. 

 

Oktibbeha County already sent three men and a front-end loader to Clay County for two days last week to clear fallen trees from the roads, but the board wished to reiterate its willingness to help its wind swept neighbors. 

 

"There''s so much that''s gone on and that needs to be done and we don''t know exactly what to do, because you want to do what''s most effective. But the flip side of that is sometimes people say we just don''t know what to do and don''t do anything," said District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer. 

 

To ensure the latter doesn''t occur, Oktibbeha County signed up years ago to be a part of the Statewide Mutual Aid Compact (SMAC), a Mississippi Emergency Management Agency program which asks counties to voluntarily offer their services in the event of a disaster. 

 

Under the program, counties in need request assistance and SMAC asks the nearest counties with the available resources to chip in. The state reimburses the assisting county wages for employees and a set rate for equipment from bulldozers to chain saws. All the assisting county loses in the exchange is the time those employees and equipment could have spent working in their own county. 

 

Posey said Clay County is the only neighboring county to ask for assistance, thus far. Webster County, he said, had plenty of help and Monroe has yet to reach out. 

 

Trainer said Oktibbeha is in a good position proximity- and resource-wise to help all of the affected counties in Northeast Mississippi. He said it''s only right for Oktibbeha to reach out because the storms easily could have affected us. 

 

"I imagine leaving my house one day and everything is in order and coming back and everything you had is either blown away or destroyed or beyond recognition," he said. 

 

 

 

In other business the board: 

 

· Appointed Ruby Shurden, widow of recently passed District 1 Constable Jimmy Shurden, to fill the remainder of her husband''s term. County elections will be held in November and officials will take office in January 2012. 

 

· Heard from Dorothy Bishop, who expressed her belief she should be honored with a plaque at the new Oktibbeha County education building''s Unity Park. The board voted 4-1 at its April 19 meeting against devoting a plaque to Bishop or any Oktibbeha resident among plaques honoring historical leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. 

 

· Opened bids on a new pumper truck for the Oktibbeha County Volunteer Fire Department. The low bid came from Rosenbauer America at $219,996. The county has not purchased a new pumper since 1994. Bids were taken under advisement. 

 

· Granted a right-of-way request to AT&T, which is burying communication lines along Poorhouse Road. The supervisors also voted to ask AT&T to cease charging the county $50 each time the sheriff''s department requests phone records for an investigation but acknowledged the communication company often waives fees to move utility lines at the county''s request. 

 

"Let''s not push it if they call our bluff," said District 4 Supervisor Daniel Jackson. 

 

· Approved a fund transfer of $100,000 for the new education building. The transfer brings the amount spent by the county to $309,000, just $11,000 short of the $320,000 the county pledged to provide for the building''s construction. 

 

· Approved several supplemental agreements for infrastructure improvements along Poorhouse Road. The requested items include a $1,900 end cap for a culvert, several tons of rip rap at $72 per ton and grass blanket at $2.10 per square yard.

 

 

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