Board to review watershed projects

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NATCHEZ — Santa isn’t the only guy checking things twice this time of year.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors voted to compile a list of emergency watershed projects completed in the county so crews can inspect the work and find out if repairs are needed.

Emergency watershed projects repair damage caused by erosion and water run-off. The projects are funded by the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the local governing body.

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The need for a check-up on previous projects was prompted at Monday’s board meeting when Adams County Engineer Jim Marlow sought permission to begin repairs on 10 more approved projects.

The total cost of those projects is $724,250, with the board’s portion beign $108,637.50, Marlow said. NRCS must approve all project sites before committing money to repair them.

While the board is only responsible for a portion of the funds to repair the damage, it is responsible for all future maintenance at the sites.

Supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell said the board doesn’t object to the maintenance, but he said something needs to be done to make sure the county is tackling repairs before they become expensive.

“It is the county’s responsibility and it (isn’t) going (anywhere),” Campbell said. “If a project goes two to three years without any attention they can become another $40,000 to $50,000 to correct.”

Marlow estimated the county has completed 30 to 50 EWP projects over the years.

The county just recently completed two emergency watershed projects that cost the board $110,000.

Supervisor Henry Watts made the motion to have the county road department coordinate a plan to inspect the project sites twice a year.

Since the projects are often on private property, the board of supervisors also voted to send a letter to property owners asking them to notify the county if they think a repair is needed in an EWP area.

“Sometimes it is a little rat hole that just needs to be packed with a bucket of dirt,” Board of Supervisors’ President Darryl Grennell.

Grennell also added that the board needs to solicit a complete list of EWP projects from the NRCS to help formulate the inspection plan.

In other news:

The board approved a request from Alan Laird, Southwest Planning and Development District grant writer, to advertise for bids to repair the heating and cooling system at the George W. Armstrong Library. The board sponsored an application for a Mississippi Development Authority Energy Efficiency Block Grant several months ago and the library was awarded $136,000.

The grant was a no-match grant.

The board received an e-mail from a representative of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality notifying the county that it is in compliance with an order to lower the level in Robins Lake.

The county now must maintain the lake level until a permanent solution can be designed, Marlow said.

In October, DEQ Dam Safety Director James MacLellan said tests he performed on the dam revealed it to be “high hazard,” and data shows that draining 17 feet will prevent another big rain from flooding and potentially harming the life of the residents of a house near U.S. 61.

The safety of the lake and the dam were questioned after approximate 11 inches of rain fell on Aug. 19, flooding approximately 80 yards of road.

The draining of the lake is supposed to prevent that from occurring again.

The board approved a change in the purchase of four new sheriff’s office vehicles from Champion Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Gulfport. The original agreement was to purchase four identical Dodge Chargers with V6 engines, but Champion only had three of the requested cars in stock and sought to replace the fourth with a V8 engine for the same price.

The board voted to make Canebrake Court a county road. Supervisor Mike Lazarus said he believes the road was previously omitted in error from motions adding roads to the county.

“This is one we have been maintaining for 30 years,” Lazarus said. “This road is a lot nicer than some of the roads out there that are adopted.”

The county will now continue to maintain the gravel road.