By David Howell
COFFEEVILLE, Miss. – Following a split vote during a recessed county board meeting, Water Valley School District Superintendent Sammy Higdon was appointed to serve on the Northwest Mississippi Junior College Board of Trustees. The decision came Monday in Coffeeville.
He will replace Aaron Burney, who had recently resigned due to health complications. Burney resigned, citing it would be best for the county. Yalobusha is one of 11 counties that appoints members to serve on NWCC’s board.
The decision to fill Burney’s slot came after supervisors passed a resolution acknowledging Burney’s service, as well as for the late Charles Johnson’s service on the Central Mississippi Inc. board.
“Are we ready to fill those positions?” Beat Five Supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman asked.
The first name to surface, mentioned by Tillman, was Frank Fernandez.
“He is a good man,” Beat One Supervisor Tommy Vaughn agreed, but adding that he would like to nominate Higdon for the position.
“I got a call from Sammy also,” Beat Two Supervisor Amos Sims said. “He has a lot of interest in it.”
“Is is going to make any difference where they come from?” Tillman asked before the vote.
“No,” Board Attorney John Crow answered.
Higdon’s nomination garnered the most votes, with Beat Three Supervisor M.H. “Butch” Surrette voting with Vaughn and Sims, while Beat Four Supervisor George Suggs cast his vote for Fernandez.
After the meeting, Tillman expressed concern with the decision, citing that in the past a board member had been appointed from each end of the county. Yalobusha’s other NWCC board member appointed by the board, Mary Alice Morman lives in the north end of the county.
Other business conducted at the Monday meeting included:
• Authorized Sheriff Lance Humphreys to attend a seminar at the University of Mississippi.
• Granted a travel request from Civil Defense Director Cecil Harrison to attend mandatory fire investigation training training.
• Approved two applications from logging companies to exceed the posted weight limits in the county. Yates Logging applied to travel County Road 230 in Beat Two and Crimm Brothers applied to travel County Road 154 in Beat Five.
• Hired Lisa Adams from Oakland to work part-time in the Coffeeville Courthouse, performing janitorial duties. William Sayles was also hired to perform the same task in the Water Valley Courthouse.
• Discussed putting the application process for applying for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to secure funding for work at Windsor Foods site in Oakland on fast-track.
North Central Planning and Development District (NCPDD) Representative Steve Russell is drafting the application. Russell, who was at the meeting, said he would have the application submitted by the end of the week.
The work at Windsor includes additional parking, paving, and other infrastructure improvements.
Crow said the county had a contractual obligation to be finished with the work by the end of the year.
“It can be done if we get funded by mid-August, Vaughn said. The county is applying for a $650,000 grant.