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County receives $2.9M from state to build new bridge over Tallahala Creek
By RUSSELL TURNER
The Perry County Board of Supervisors got some good news on Monday concerning the future of a key bridge in the county.
County engineer Jason Lamb of The Walker Associates advised county leaders that the county had received $2.9-million to replace the bridge over Tallahala Creek on Old River Road outside New Augusta. The funding, which will cover 100 percent of the cost of the project, came via special authorization from the state. The project calls for complete replacement of the bridge and has been in the works for years.
According to Lamb, the project will not require road closure as the new bridge will be constructed adjacent to the current one, which will remain open during the 14-month period anticipated for completion of the project.
The bridge was originally built in 1956 and is currently open under significant weight restrictions. It was closed for several months in 2009 due to serious deficiencies. County supervisors spent approximately $200,000 in 2009 to make repairs on the bridge to allow it to be reopened with restrictions.
Supervisors also got a little bad news on Monday in the form of a rate increase for county health insurance. Insurance agent Danny Williamson told supervisors that he was able to negotiate with United Healthcare to lessen the increase from the original 12 percent, down to seven percent. Still, supervisors will have to adjust their current year budget to reflect the increase, which will be from $767.23 per month up to $820.99 per month for each of the 69 employees currently taking advantage of the benefit. The county covers the cost of insurance for employees and offers full family coverage to employees with a payroll deduction for the expanded coverage. Only four county employees opt for the full family coverage. Williamson said he had solicited other quotes, but that the pool of insurers interested in writing the policies was limited and the one quote that was received was more expensive than the current provider. Supervisors had the option of reducing benefits in the plans or increasing the individual deductibles for each employee, but after discussing the options with Williamson voted to stay with United Healthcare.
In other business, supervisors:
– approved the appointments and Perry County’s portion of the salaries of circuit court administrator Brittany Stuart and law clerk Kira Newsom;
– approved travel and registration fees for Circuit Clerk Christy Mayo and the county election commissioners to attend certification and training meetings Mar. 30 – April 2 in Biloxi;
– authorized rental of personal scooters for the training meetings for commissioners Sherry Hartfield and Lillian Carter at a rate of $40 per day for each;
– approved travel, lodging and registration for Dist. 1 Supervisor Bobby Bolton to attend a Mississippi Department of Health Aging and Adulting Conference May 25-27 in Biloxi;
– approved terms of an agreement with Trustmark Bank to begin direct deposit of county employee payroll;
– approved $100 pay raises for county employees Trenton Brownlee (Dist. 4), Gehaven Bolton (Dist. 1) as well as the hiring of Dennis Roberts (Dist. 1) and Rick Bradford (Dist. 5) as a full-time employees;
– authorized overweight hauling permits for Magnolia Land & Timber (along Old Augusta Road) and Weyerhauser (south on Old Dairy Road to east on Prospect Road and then south on Buck Creek Road);
– approved the appointment of Tracy Carter to serve the remainder of the unexpired term being vacated by Danny Odom on the Runnelstown Utility District board of directors;
– approved a request by L&I Veterinary Services for the burial of a deceased animal on Rick Watkin’s property on Holliman Road, Ovett;
– approved installation of culverts to protect the county roads at Clinton Smith’s property on Prospect Road and Keith Lawrence’s property on Beaumont Brooklyn Road;
– approved County Surveyor Mark Walley to do the necessary surveying for establishing Carl Pierce Road as a public road on the county’s road inventory; and
– adjourned until the next official meeting date of Feb. 1 at 9 a.m.