Article Comment 

County OKs $1 million for road paving


Kristin Mamrack



The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a $1 million plan to pave portions of Cal-Steens, Officer''s Lake, Beersheba, Hughes and Taylor Thurston roads as part of the county''s 2010-2014 road plan.  


Road Manager Ronnie Burns said he expects $360,812.78 in his $1.37 million budget to be left for work to maintain other county roads. 


"We have roads deteriorating real bad (because of weather)," he reported. "I''ll probably have to return to the board for more money on maintenance." 


"I think the board really needs to give some thought to some type of short-term (three- to four-year) bond issue," suggested District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks. "It doesn''t mean we''ll have to raise taxes. We''re not spending wisely, because we''re not putting enough money into the roads to make a significant difference. 


"We''re only touching the tip of the iceberg," he continued. "We are investing in economic development and parks and recreation. Roads are an essential part of what we do. The way we are doing it now, it will be infinitum before we get all the roads done." 


"We''ve got roads that are completely coming apart," agreed Smith, echoing Brooks'' desire for a workshop to discuss funding more road work. "And the cost of business will be going up." 


Board President and District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders noted about $940,000 of "extra money" was put into the Road Department budget through fee-in-lieu payments from Cogentrix, a power plant in Caledonia. 


"We need to go ahead and repair as many roads as we can," said Brooks. "The longer we wait, the worse shape we''re going to be in and, as Jeff suggested, the costs (for materials) will go up." 


County Administrator Ralph Billingsley noted the board voted to spend an additional $2 million beyond what was previously budgeted for roadwork, in 2008, an additional $1 million in 2009 and an additional $1 million, beyond what was previously budgeted, in 2010. 


"We''ve put pretty significant moneys in there," he said, suggesting the budget be revised, later, as needed. 


"When we issue bonds, we''re cutting (future) road budgets in half," said Sanders. 




Crawford speed bumps 


In other road business, supervisors agreed to leave Crawford''s Main Street traffic-calming speed bumps in place, if their presence won''t jeopardize funding the county receives for state-aid roads. 


Jewel Holcomb of Crawford spoke on behalf of other residents in her community, as did Crawford Mayor Fred Tolon. 


"We are desperate for safety," Holcomb told the supervisors, asking them to leave the speed bumps, about which some residents have complained, in place. "I know the speed bumps are an inconvenience when people travel through our town, but we have three counties that travel through our town." 


The "safety bumps," as Holcomb calls them, protect children and the elderly, she noted. 


"It''s unreal how much traffic we have in that town," she added. "The majority of the people did speak. Please find some way to keep these speed bumps." 


Holcomb also asked for a police substation to be located in Crawford to serve the "far end of the county." 


"We''re having some gangs that are moving in," she said. "This is dangerous; we desperately need help." 


"The quality of life in Crawford changed when those (speed) bumps got there," said Tolon. "They made a drag strip out of Main Street in Crawford (before the speed bumps were placed). I know we are out of sight, but I just hope we are not out of the mind of this board." 


County Engineer Bob Calvert noted the presence of the speed bumps could provide a "liability issue" for the county, but they were installed in accordance with regulated standards, the compliance of which is a defense for the county. 


Additionally, he reported the Mississippi Department of Transportation has stopped using speed bumps as traffic-calming devices and MDOT officials said the agency''s "position is they shouldn''t be there." 


"I would concur (with Holcomb and the mayor)," said Lowndes County Sheriff Butch Howard. "I think these speed bumps have reduced the incidences of speeding. We''ve had less of a problem with them being there." 


"There''s nothing to indicate state-aid funds would be in jeopardy," noted Calvert. 


County Attorney Tim Hudson agreed to research the county''s potential liability in connection with the speed bumps. 


"We are doing for Crawford what it is we can do," District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith assured Holcomb. 




In other business, the board:



  • Heard from representatives of the Lowndes County chapter of the U.S. Census Bureau. 


    The chairwoman of the Lowndes County Census committee, Sharon Lewis, asked the board to help encourage residents to return Census forms they''re likely to receive in March, noting the Census data is used to attract economic development and direct federal and state allocations. 


    Additionally, she noted the Census Bureau currently is hiring for the 2010 Census and testing for employment will be done today at the Artesia Community Center, Wednesday at the Caledonia Library and Thursday at the Crawford Community Center. 


    Anyone interested in employment is asked to call 1-866-861-2010. 


  • Awarded a bid on renovation of the former First Federal Bank building, at 12th Street and Main Street, to Sheffield Construction. 


    The supervisors earlier used $950,000 of interest money -- from the 2006 sale of the hospital to Baptist for $30 million -- to purchase the former First Federal Bank building for space for county administrative offices. 


    Billingsley noted the offices likely will be ready for occupancy in May.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment Eastwood Hills Citizen commented at 2/2/2010 3:15:00 PM:

We see that alot of road are getting pave in areas where roads have been pave aleast twice.We
have been trying to contact our Supervisor but the only thing that he has said was that I community roads will be on the next round. Well according to this plan we are not listed. Mike told us sometime ago before he was veto out that our road was going to be paved but all we got was white dust that made everybody sick, miss up houses and cars. So Mr. Holliman where are you
haven't seen you in our community since election
time, haven't done nothing that you promise I guess you're representing the royal and forgetting the others. Taxation with representation right my taxes rose 100 dollars this year, i aleast thought I could see the benefits of it. I roads are in bad shape and you don't seem to care some are sick for the white dust they put down; others car and home were polluted.We think its time to take action and maybe legal action against the county for this pollution. Mr. Holliman don't even think abou returning to this community for any relection votes.


Article Comment Sallymae commented at 2/2/2010 7:36:00 PM:

Mrs. Holcomb has a knack for sticking her nose where it doesn't belong! Inconvience is nothing,it is hazardous to vehicles. I have already had to fix my vehicle because of those road hazards. Mrs Holcomb, you have become the number one enemy of our town. YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR ALL OF US!!!!! Yeah the sheriff likes it because he doesn't have to send his people down there, they can patrol the streets of Columbus and not out in the county where they belong.
For your info (and I do know what I am talking about as I see and live this EVERY day)those things do not help subside speeding they are an annoyance and cause damage to my vehicle. Motorcycles us them as a jump ramp! How about I start billing Mrs Holcomb for all the damage my vehicle has sustained? By the way those things were put down by that last idiot we had as a supervisor!


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