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From Staff Reports
Local loggers, timber and poultry producers, and others utilizing high-weight trucks in their operations will soon be required to obtain hauling permits to move merchandise and materials along county roadways.
County supervisors voted Monday to move forward with the establishment of a new truck permit program they say is needed to help protect county road infrastructure and facilitate better communications between county officials and local businesses. They are working with board attorney Paul Walley to finalize details for the program. County leaders say they hope to have those details worked out soon, at which point a public hearing on the matter will be set to hear input from residents.
While specifics remain to be worked out, some portions of the new program are clear. For instance, county officials have said there will be no charge for the permits and that the program is not intended as a revenue source for county operations. Also, it will be the responsibility of the owner of the truck(s) to request the permit.
When a logger or other hauler contacts a county supervisor for a permit, they will provide the county official with a proposed route. If that route is deemed to be the best route, the supervisor will approve the permit and the logger/hauler will be required to make sure every truck has a copy of the permit available for review by authorities. If supervisors deem that a low weight bridge, frequency of trucks along the route or other issues are problematic, they will provide a different route or deny the permit request.
Supervisors say they are also looking at long-term permits (up to a year) for trucks making regular service deliveries or pickups, such as poultry feed suppliers or when chickens are harvested from chicken houses for delivery to processing plants.
It is not clear when the proposed rules for the program will be available for review, but details will be published when they become available. The public hearing on the matter will also be advertised in this newspaper for two weeks prior to the date of the hearing.
Permits are already required for trucks using state and federal routes, and most counties in the state have some type of local permitting system in place. Supervisors say the move brings Greene County in line with regulations in surrounding counties, and while it may be a minor inconvenience for haulers as the program is initiated, it will be less inconvenient than road and bridge closures that could follow if action isn’t taken to protect the infrastructure.
Supervisors sell unfinished 911 building in industrial park
While the deal is not finalized, county supervisors have approved the sale of the unfinished building in the industrial park across from the state prison. The project was intended to be a new 911 center for the county, but had turned into somewhat of an albatross around the neck of county leaders since construction on the building was halted in February 2020 after concerns arose over compliance with construction codes and standards for the public facility.
Efforts to salvage the building for alternative uses were abandoned due to the projected costs of bringing the building up to the construction standards needed for a government building. Supervisors declared the property as surplus last year and put it on the market to cut their losses.
Supervisors voted unanimously on Monday to move forward with the sale of the building and roughly eight acres in the industrial park to Sharrod and Winette Denmark. The sale price announced at the meeting was $30,000. Sharrod Denmark said plans are to locate a funeral home on the site.
In other business:
– supervisors heard from officials with MDOC/SMCI about the return of the availability of state inmates for county work projects. Supervisors told SMCI officials they are most interested in assistance cleaning up trash along county roadways, which should now resume in coming weeks;
– accepted a bid from Molten’s Kountry Kitchen in Leakesville to provide inmate meals at the Greene County Jail. Per the agreement, Molten’s will provide three meals per day to the jail (for a minimum of 2,500 calories per day) for a price of $9 per inmate;
– approved advertising for a 3-4 week road closure for Flat Branch Road just outside of Leakesville beginning May 17. The purpose of the closure is to allow contractors to relocate a gas pipeline that is narrowly buried beneath parts of Flat Branch and Dean Turner Extension, which will be closed for approximately one week after the work on Flat Branch is complete;
– accepted a high bid of $5,100 from Block-N-Chip, for the sale of a GMC dump truck deemed as surplus property by supervisors. Dist. Four Supervisor Wayne Barrow rejected two bids received for a 2014 Kubota tractor that had also been deemed as surplus. The high bid of the two received was for $18,777.77; and
– heard an update from engineer Jason Lamb regarding a $180,000 resurfacing project for Dickerson Sawmill Road. Supervisor Barrow said the funding ($150,000 of which came through a state grant) will be adequate to resurface the majority of the road, which is a heavily traveled roadway important to the area’s agriculture industry.