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County agrees on two major road projects

Panola County supervisors learned Monday they will have about $2.8 million in state money for road repairs over the next term, and tentatively agreed to spend the bulk of the funds on two roads – Macedonia and Pope-Water Valley.

The worst parts of those roads will require about $2.5 million, according to the county’s engineering firm, Elliot & Britt of Oxford. The county will likely borrow additional money, or find ways to pull from the existing budget, to complete other roadwork throughout the term, although those two roads will receive the majority of attention.

Supervisors also discussed the condition of several other roads in the county, and bridges that are currently on a list for upgrades or replacement, including two bridges on Ward Rd. in the north part of Panola.

That road is below a large pond and levee and should be raised about six feet supervisors were told. Additionally, two bridges on the road have passed recent federal inspections, but are narrow and made of timbers, making drivers wary of their stability.

In other business, the board voted 5-0 upon Supervisor Earl Burdette’s recommendation to give the North Mississippi Animal Rescue group $2,000 for operating expenses. NMAR has been given money by the county in recent years, but was left out of the 2019-20 budget when the board of supervisors, with a different make-up, voted to give $4,000 to Love All Paws and nothing to NMAR.

The board approved the construction of a security fence, with an electronic gate, for the side and back of the Sheriff’s Department. The cost will be about $16,000 and supervisors agreed with Sheriff Shane Phelps that the area to be fenced is currently too open to the general public.

The board heard from Jan Galloway, a Panola County resident complaining about the increase in trash and garbage on the county roads. She said not only has the county become filthy with debris, even the normally pristine area of Sardis Lake has become a large trash receptacle of late.

Supervisors agreed with the citizen’s assessment, and noted that Phelps is working to add another crew of county jail inmates to the approved list of litter control work crew eligible people. He said residents can expect to see more jail inmates working off fines when the weather warms.

The Boys & Girls Club of Batesville and the Justice Court in Sardis have both requested roof repairs, the board learned. Supervisors agreed to have contractors look at both roofs, but allocated no repair funds at this week’s meeting.

In one of its final actions on Monday, the board members individually signed a letter to the county’s state legislative contingent asking that any legislation action needed to begin the process of combining the county’s two judicial districts be started.

Supervisors are expected to learn more about their options for making just one judicial district and combining most of the county’s offices, in coming weeks. The board will meet again Monday, March 9, at the Batesville Courthouse at 9 a.m.