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County leaders promote area projects on Washington D.C. trip

 

NATCHEZ — Several Adams County leaders attended the National Association of County Officials conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, as advocates for several projects with a community impact — as well as to bring the information provided there from the federal to the local level, they said.

Supervisors Ricky Gray and Angela Hutchins both attended the conference, as well as Executive Director of Natchez Inc. Chandler Russ and Adams County Administrator Joe Murray.

Gray and Hutchins said they were able to lobby for ongoing developments, including the levee construction near the former Belwood Country Club industrial site and Emergency Watershed Projects, which combat infrastructure damages caused by erosion.

“I believe it went well,” Hutchins said during Monday’s meeting with the Adams County Board of Supervisors. “There’s a possibility that we could get another $500,000 from the Delta Regional Authority for the Belwood Levee project,” Hutchins said.

Gray said the trip was a great opportunity to network.

“We had the opportunity to go to the Capitol to talk to our congressman Michael Guest and his staff,” Gray said. “We talked about the money we needed for the EWP projects.”

Gray said he asked to be added on a transportation committee to help rally support for construction of Interstate 14, which would connect East Texas to central Georgia and pass through five Southern states including a proposed path through the Natchez area.

“Since I-14 is coming through Natchez, I thought we should have a representative at the table,” Gray said.

The supervisors also attended a series of discussions that pertain to local governments, Gray said, and learn about grant money, workforce building, leadership skills and emergency preparedness.

Gray said one of the most important classes he attended, included discussion of skills for being an effective leader.

“Not everyone who is elected is a leader,” Gray said. “That is why a lot of problems in small governments exist, because people need the training to learn how to be a leader.”

Hutchins said one of the discussions she attended especially stood out to her, which dealt with the problem of mental illness and how governments can handle patients waiting for a court date in ways other than locking them in a cell.

“Some of the problems with mental illness have to do with opioid use,” Hutchins said, “and what goes on in the home from the age of 0 to 5 can be a cause, too. We have to be careful when we are raising our kids to make sure what they see in the home does not negatively affect them mentally. … A better look at the opioid crisis would also help solve a lot of the mental illness issues that we have.”

In other matters during the Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday, the board:

  • Unanimously approved dockets, financial reports and credit card reports.
  • Unanimously approved contracts for EWP projects with the lowest bidder Camo Construction Co. for a total of $847,564. Projects include road and infrastructure repair for damages caused by erosion throughout the county, county officials said.
  • Unanimously approved the purchase of six C-Spire cellphones for the emergency management department for $1,265 per year, which would be reimbursed with grant funds.
  • Unanimously approved four travel requests for departmental training sessions in Gulfport, Pearl and Clinton.
  • Unanimously approved three new hires for the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, one with annual pay of $20,966 and two with earnings of $24,960 per year.
  • Unanimously approved a new hire for a part-time nurse’s assistant with a salary of $13,520 per year.
  • Unanimously approved fund transfer from the general fund to the unemployment fund for $3,347 to fill a requirement that the fund equal 2-percent of payroll.
  • Unanimously approved a budget amendment to reflect $9,080 received from vehicle insurance on wrecked automobiles in the sheriff’s office.
  • Unanimously approved a budget amendment for insurance money received from damaged loading equipment for $25,041.
  • Unanimously approved a budget amendment of $210,000 to reflect the annual appropriation of funds allocated to the Natchez-Adams County Airport.
  • Unanimously approved budget amendment of $7,982 to reflect expenses for repairs and speed signs on Morgantown Road, Brian Alexander Road and State Park Road.
  • Unanimously approved a request from District 2 Supervisor David Carter to advertise an ordinance hearing regarding clean up regulations after tree limb trimming.
  • Unanimously approved the adoption of a resolution to create two memorial plaques for two deceased volunteer fire chiefs: Jason Haley, the fire chief for the Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Department, and Troy Whittington, the fire chief for the Lake Montrose Volunteer Fire Department, were both killed in gunfire exchange on Mar. 1 during an alleged domestic dispute.
  • Unanimously approved the creation of a private family cemetery on a privately owned property on Wall Street Road.

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