By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – County supervisors breezed through a lengthy agenda during the “first Monday” meeting that included topics ranging from a road closure to moving the E-911 office to the Coffeeville courthouse.
First to address supervisors at the Water Valley meeting was Lacy Whitaker, appearing for a third time to request closure of a 50 yard-stretch of Burchfield Road that runs through her property near the Water Valley Boat Landing in District 3. The property is currently listed on the county’s road registry as a public road. The entire length of Burchfield Road is almost a tenth of a mile long, running off of County Road 53 and ending just past Whitaker’s property line on U.S. Corps of Engineers land.
After a 10-minute discussion supervisors verbally agreed to close the road, but scheduled a second public hearing in May before the final decision can be made.
“I just wanted to revisit the issue on Burchfield Drive and see where we stand to get a vote on our petition to close a portion of that road,” Whitaker told the board as the discussion got underway.
“Do you have any new information today?” District 3 Supervisor Lee McMinn asked.
Whitaker reported that the former owner of the property explained there was never a county road across the property. She also reported the Corps has placed a gate on the backside of her property, blocking public access to the Corps owned field that is leased for hay.
“It’s almost like you are pulling up in some one else’s yard to get to that back lot,” McMinn said, adding that the gate installed by the Corps on the back of Corps property sends a strong signal that traffic is prohibited.
“Any hesitance that I had prior to this meeting in closing our section through their private property, I no longer have. I am open to having a public hearing to start that process,” McMinn said.
“I agree 100 percent, I don’t think they need to be on your property if it is already closed on the back side,” Board President Tommy Vaughn agreed.
“I got one question,” District 5 Frank “Bubba” Tillman said. “Has the Corps give you a key to it (the gate)?” Tillman asked.
“No,” Whitaker answered.
“The only people that needs a key to that gate needs to be the lease holder and the Corps of Engineers,” Tillman said, explaining that if the Whitaker’s have exclusive access to the public property it would not be fair.
“I have no intentions of doing that,” Whitaker said.
“I wanted to make sure before we have this public hearing,” Tillman responded.
“That is the Corps property, we can access it the same way everybody else can access it and that is our intention,” Whitaker said. She also told Tillman she has communicated with the Corps about building another road through Corps property to access the hayfield.
“I know we are beating this horse to death, but there are a lot of people involved. I think we have come to the right decision, you should have priority over your property,” Vaughn said as discussion came to a close on the topic.
County’s 911 Office
County EMA Director Frank Hyde received permission to move the E-911 office from the current location on Center Street in Coffeeville to the former sheriff’s department building attached to the Coffeeville courthouse.
Hyde said the 911 office previously shared the space with the hospital and split the utility cost.
“Since the hospital moved out, we are having to tote the whole load on it,” Hyde explained, referring to the utilities, which were $5,400 in 2014.
Hyde added that the 911 department is only using one office in the building.
Vaughn also recommended selling the county-owned building, adding the county had spent money replacing the roof several years ago.
“We are just building up excess property. But that is just something to think about,” Vaughn said. “We don’t have to sell it right now. If we move out and can’t find somebody to go in it, we need to get rid of it,” he added.
As Monday’s regular business came to a close, supervisors voted to enter executive session to discuss contractual matters with Blauer Manufacturing Company. The company’s vice-president of Distri-butions and Logistics, Elvest Cook has reported in two prior meetings that his company is interested in purchasing or leasing the county-owned former Avery Outdoors Building in Coffeeville. A recessed meeting is also scheduled Thursday, April 9, on the matter.
Other business conducted at Monday’s meeting included:
• Met with Coffeeville Woman’s League representatives Kerrie Staten and Charlotte Weeks to see if the county could provide in-kind labor for a playground project on Front Street in Coffeeville. Staten explained her organization was working on a grant proposal with help from multiple agencies to secure a $300,000 grant for the project. The grant would require $75,000 in matching funds, which could include in-kind work by the county.
Supervisors asked for a detailed request of the work needed and also advised Staten to consult with the county’s EMA Director Frank Hyde to see if the property is located in the flood zone. A second meeting is scheduled on the matter on April 20.
• Approved the claims for March;
• Approved the minutes from March meetings;
• Discussed a 22-cent rate increase for garbage pickup. This would push the monthly rate Waste Management charges the county for curbside pickup from $11.77 to $11.99 per can. The increase follows an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
“I think we can absorb that slight increase,” Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn told supervisors, but added the number crunching had not been completed. The county charges $13 per customer per month, with the difference used for payroll and postage to run the county’s garbage department;
• Tabled discussion on a dog ordinance. The matter was tabled from the last meeting after District 3 Supervisor McMinn asked if the county could help the sheriff’s department with a possible ordinance to expedite response for neglected or abused dogs. The matter was tabled again, as Board Attorney John Crow was absent from the meeting.