WATER VALLEY – A county-owned zero-turn commercial lawnmower will be utilized to mow the five-acre Yalobusha County 4-H Shooting Range in Coffeeville.
The request made by Tony Carmichael, lead volunteer for the county’s 4-H shooting sports, was among 16 items on the agenda for the “first Monday” meeting that county officials breezed through in less than an hour. Their efficiency was aided by an air conditioning problem that made the third-floor courthouse room warm – even before the meeting got underway.
Before making his pitch for the mower, Carmichael provided a brief background on the range including success from participants that number approximately 35 on this year’s team.
“This is the seventh consecutive year that our county has turned out a national shooter, and two of those years we turned out two,” Carmichael explained. To compete at the national level, the 4-Her must qualify at county shoot, district shoot and state shoot. To qualify for the national team, the shooter has to be among the four highest in the state.
“That’s quite an achievement for our county. I don’t think there is any county in the state that can say the same things. The program, I am really proud of,” Carmichael added.
Previously the range had used a basic riding lawnmower, and mowing takes a lot of time.
Carmichael also explained that the range needed to be cut by a lawnmower instead of a pasture clipper, citing one shotgun event where the skeet needs to roll on a smooth surface to simulate a rabbit running.
“And it really looks good. We have other counties that come and shoot with us and that is something they have always commented on, how impressive our range is,” Carmichael said as supervisors agreed to his request.
Board President Tommy Vaughn said the county did not expect to use the mower much this year, but expected it to be in heavy use next year, referring to mowing the grass at all of the county-owned property using inmate labor. Currently the county contracts grass cutting, but inmate labor is expected to be available again next year with the construction of the new jail.
Previously the county had utilized inmate labor for mowing, but in 2008 the county came under scrutiny from prisoner right’s attorney Ron Welch ordered the county to build a new jail or quit housing work-classified state inmates. After several years of wrangling with Welch, the prisoners were ultimately pulled.
“Probably be better to run a little bit rather than sit up,” Vaughn added as discussion on the topic came to a close.
Other business discussed at Monday’s meeting includes:
• Approved an application for MDOT for an entrance ramp on highway right-of-way for the new jail site, located on Hwy. 32 East, just past BorgWarner.
County Engineer Karl Grubb said the application had already been “basically pre-approved” after both parties had verbally worked out the details.
“I just need a signature from the Board President to submit this to MDOT,” Grubb advised.
• Approved a request to honor the county’s long-time Veteran’s Service Office (VSO), George Rounsaville, who stepped down last month.
District Two Supervisor Amos Sims recommended the recognition early in Monday’s meeting.
“I think it would be nice to recognize him with a plaque and resolution for his service,” Vaughn agreed.
“It’s well-deserved” Sims said, as he put the recommendation in a motion that received a round of seconds from supervisors.
Rounsaville had served as the county’s VSO for 22 years. He cited health reasons in his resignation letter to supervisors.
• Approved the minutes from two May meetings.
• Approved the employment of Archie Bailey as a rubbish landfill worker at $12 per hour.
• Approved the employment of Charles Bennett as a part-time truck driver in District One for $12 per hour.
• Increased the pay of District Five employee Russell Calder to $1900 monthly, plus insurance effective June 1.
• Accepted a high bid of $200 from James Ford for bleachers from the old Oakland school. Ford indicated the bleachers would be used at Camp Lakeside.
• Approved a request from Circuit Clerk Daryl Burney for $5,000 to replenish the Circuit Court Juror Account. Burney added the money was already in his budget.
“We are having a special trial in June. It is on a case we have been trying to get tried for two years,” Burney explained.
According to the court calendar, the trial is set for Dustin Davis, who was charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit murder after allegedly shooting his father in the head.
Burney had sent out summons for 225 jurors for the May trial before it was pushed back to June 23.
• Approved a request from Burney to renew the annual contract with ES&S in the amount of $6,800 for the maintenance, repair and coding of the county’s voting machines.
• Approved a request from Chief Deputy Jerry Ferguson to transfer $1,784.64 in drug seized money to the sheriff’s PIPE fund. The PIPE fund is used for drug enforcement in the county including undercover drug stings. Ferguson attended the meeting in absence of Sheriff Lance Humphreys, who was out of the county attending the sheriff’s convention in Biloxi.
• Approved a request from Coroner Ronnie Stark to attend the Mississippi Coroner Association’s Sum-mer Conference.
• Agreed to repair several bad spots in the plaster at the Coffeeville Courthouse.
“If something isn’t done before winter and it rains, the water could get in there and freeze and it would be a big problem,” District Five Supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman said.
Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn added that all of the windows need painting at both courthouses.
• Set a recessed meeting date for June 20, if needed.