By David Howell
OAKLAND – Work will soon begin at Windsor Quality Foods for infrastructure improvements at the Oakland facility following the award of a $648,565 Community Development Block Grant to Yalobusha County.
The official notification of the grant approval came earlier in September, with a letter from the Mississippi Development Authority.
The county is expected to kick in $70,000 in matching funds as part of the grant agreement. Much of the county’s match will come from in-kind work.
A fast-approaching deadline of Dec. 31 has been set for the county to complete the work which includes paving access roads, providing increased parking area, an upgrade to the wastewater treatment center, and painting the Windsor Foods logo on the water tower.
With the deadline to complete the work only three months away, supervisors have asked their engineering firm, Willis Engineering, to move as fast as possible as Windsor is expected to begin operations during the first quarter of 2008.
Dock Gabbert attended the “first Monday” supervisor meeting Oct. 1 in Water Valley to update supervisors on design work his firm is preparing for the work at the Windsor site.
Gabbert said he had a 1 p.m. meeting with company officials later that day to iron out details.
Gabbert added the company is preparing to expand, adding a building over part of the area that is slated for re-surfacing.
“They are about three weeks out on there design on this, and they want us to hold up about three weeks before we start designing that,” Gabbert said.
District One Supervisor Tommy Vaughn asked if the company would be willing to extend the Dec. 31 deadline if they have to wait another three weeks before starting work.
Gabbert said that this issue would be addressed at the meeting.
“Have we filed for an extension on our completion date over there?” District Three Supervisor M.H. “Butch” Surrette asked.
“John (Crow) discussed with me an e-mail (to the company) asking for additional time,” Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn answered. McMinn said that a company official had answered, saying that additional time to complete the work was fine as long as it did not jeopardize their operational timeline.
Also at the supervisor meeting, supervisors selected North Central Planning and Development District as the grant administrator for the project.
Other business conducted by the board Monday included:
• Conducted an exit conference with Tom Windham, who audited the county for the 2005 fiscal year.
“Amy did a fine job on the accounting,” Windham said. He added that all departments in the county were doing a good job and there were no problems cited.
• Moved Lewis Jackson from part-time to full-time with benefits.
• Denied a request from the Department of Human Services, Child Support Division, to use the courthouse janitor to clean their building.
• Appointed Gaylon Gray as Assistant Receiving Clerk for District Five.
• Approved a request from Georgia Pacific to exceed posted weight limits on county roads 134 and 215 in District One and Five while hauling logs. A similar request was approved for Waugh and Waugh on county roads 126 and 127 in District Two.
• Heard a report from Tax Assessor/Collector Linda Shuffield on $130 revenue generated from the sale of unused car tags sold for scrap metal.
• Accepted an insolvency report from Shuffield on uncollected taxes from mobile homes stating taxes were unable to be collected. Another report was also presented by Shuffield for uncollected taxes on businesses that had closed.
“We could not seize inventory for property taxes,” Shuffield explained, due to the fact the businesses were no longer in existence.
“We only had five,” Shuffield said.