By Daniel Brunty
The Winston County Journal
The Winston County Board of Supervisors talk with new Kelly representative.
The meeting began with the supervisors meeting with Brent Thompson, Field Representative for Congressman Trent Kelly of the 1st District. Thompson informed the supervisors that Kelly would soon be opening a new office in the town of Eupora in the town’s historic Train Depot.
Kelly opened the office to help him serve the southern part of his district, which is comprised of 22 counties.
Thompson then introduced the Rev. Willy Weddle, whom Kelly hired to be his field representative in the new office. Thompson invited all the supervisors to the office’s grand opening on January 22 at 10 a.m.
After Thompson and Weddle exited the meeting, the board met with Mr. Rotunda Riddle of 1360 Young Crossing Road. Riddle had requested to speak to the board regarding the cleanup efforts soon after the April 28, 2014 storms.
Riddle stated that he was one of the victims of the storm, which left debris and other items on his property. Riddle said that FEMA agents and members of Samaritans Purse had cleaned up debris in every house in his community except his.
“I want to know why my house did not get cleaned up?” Riddle asked the supervisors. “I pay taxes like everyone else does. It is bringing the value of my property down.”
Board President Luke Parkes then asked a question. “Is it on the county right-of-way or is it close to it?”
Riddle stated that the debris was on the side of the road, but road workers for the county had previously pushed the debris into his yard when cleaning out a ditch along the road.
Parkes asked Riddle could he give the supervisors time to visit his property to see how much debris was in the yard, and from that point they would make steps to remove it.
The board then met with Tax Assessor Darlene Bane. Bane addressed the supervisors with an issue she was having in regards to a car tag with a resident. Bane stated that the resident had purchased a car tag from the Tax Assessor’s Office when former Tax Assessor Larry Woodward was in office.
The tag was bought in error, however, and the resident requested a refund for it. Bane informed the supervisors that the procedure in the past for such an issue was not to issue a refund, but to issue a credit to the customer.
Bane said the resident contacted the Department of Revenue, which provided them with a statement saying a refund can be issued. Bane stated that she reviewed the statement with Board Attorney Hugh Hathorn, and learned that within the statement the refund may be issued if the Tax Assessor choses to do so.
“We don’t want to open up a can of worms where we treated one party this way and we’re suddenly doing this party another way,” Bane stated. “In counties around us, issuing a refund is not a common practice at all.”
Bane wanted to allow the supervisors to make the decision to issue a refund or credit for the situation.
After a discussion between the supervisors and Bane, District 4 Supervisor Ralph Goss made a motion to issue a credit to the resident, which was seconded by District 5 Supervisor Larry Duran. The board passed the motion unanimously.
The board also met with Woodward regarding an issue of a list of bad checks that were submitted to the Tax Assessor’s office for the purchase of car tags and the payment of garbage bills.
Hathorn explained to the supervisors that the tax collector is required to make every reasonable effort to collect the checks, and if all efforts are made the board may give the tax assessor credit for the checks. One of those efforts is to turn the checks over to the District Attorney for prosecution.
The concern that the board members and Hathorn had regarding the checks was regarding if some of the checks on the list have passed the statue of limitations.
Woodward stated that some of the checks were not sent to the District Attorney some of the checks because their office would not take checks under a certain amount.
The board advised Woodward to turn over the checks to the District Attorney’s office, and the other checks that were not accepted by that office would be turned over to the Justice Court.
After meeting with Woodward, the board met with County Engineer Jimmy Kemp. Kemp had previously emailed the supervisors before the meeting regarding an email sent to him from District Engineer Jack Jackson.
Jackson’s email informed the supervisors that STP funds used for particular projects would no longer track those funds on the base of their status. With this new policy, the county may only have one project programmed at a time of advertisement. In the past, counties could program another project once the current project was ready for funding. Now the program must be funded and advertised before a new project can be programmed.
Kemp asked the supervisors what would be a good time and date for planning a work session with Jackson. The supervisors informed Kemp to set the date of February 4 at 9 a.m. to meet with Jackson.
Kemp also provided a list of roads on the designated state aid road system in Winston County. During a discussion of the list, Parkes asked to remove Rocky Hill Road from the state aid road system and replace it with Murray-Fulton Road. A motion was made to approve the motion, which the board did so.
Before exiting the meeting, Kemp informed the board that bids for the Landfill Road project would be taken during the board’s next meeting.
The meeting concluded with the board meeting in executive session to discuss right of way procurement and economic development.
After exiting the executive session, the board announced it had taken the following actions in the session. The board appointed Leo Parker to the East Central Community College Board of Trustees for Winston County. The board also approved to advertise for the lease & purchase of a tractor and long-arm boom at the state contract price for District 5.
In other notes, Parkes made a request for members of the E911 Department to attend the board’s next meeting so they could familiarize themselves with the new supervisors. County EMA Director Buddy King stated he would contact E911 to make the request on behalf of the board.
In other news, the board:
•Acknowledged appointment of Deputy Circuit Court Administrator, Wesley R. McCulloch
•Acknowledged appointment of Charla Boatman as Circuit Court Reporter
•Approved Court Reporter expenses for Lindsey Williams, $77.06
•Approved minutes of January 4, 2016 meeting and January 11, 2016 meeting
•Approved Cash in Bank report
•Approved overtime report
•Approved appointment of Joyce Harrington to Prairie Opportunity to four year term
•Authorized demand check for $1,000 for MS Association of Collectors/Assessors dues
•Approved Butler & Snow continuing disclosure agreement
•Approved payment to Daniel Coker, Horton & Bell for $108 for Tim Rogers v. Louisville-Winston Airport
•Acknowledged appointment of Tammy L. Thomas as Circuit Clerk official Court Reporter
•Approved to allow Lester Holdiness of the Winston County Sheriff’s Department to be moved from the status of full-time to reserve and change pay rate accordingly
•Approved motion to accept amendments to tax rolls
•Approved motion to approve and accept fire contracts
•Approved to purchase a load of coal mix with funds from supervisors to repair holes in Teter’s parking lot located by Winston Medical Center
•Approved request for demand check for Kim Higginson for $50 to Circuit Court
•Approved request from Pryor & Morrow for payment on Teter’s building in the amount of $4,725.13
•Approved request from E Cornell Malone for payment in the amount of $347,819.18
•Approved $2,500 to Soil Conservation for beaver control. Funds to be paid from Soil Conservation budget
•Approved school bus turnarounds for Districts 1 and 4
•Approved order for payment of medical fees for Choctaw Medical Center for mental commitments in the amount of $1,200
•Approved court filing fees in the amount of $2,175
•Acknowledged state contract price for purchase of truck for District 3
•Approved payment for picnic tables, garbage bins, and other related items for Dean Park
•Approved refund to Gene Stokes for erroneous parcel of land sold at the land sale in 2013-2014
•Approved motion to recognize District 4 Supervisor Goss did not receive items listed by Chancery Clerk for District 4 inventory
•Approved to allow WMC to provide insurance for three buildings it owns, located on Hwy 15, to be added to the county’s blanket policy, with WMC to reimburse the county for the cost
The Winston County Board of Supervisors will hold its next meeting on Monday, February 1 at the Winston County Courthouse.