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Airport, roads and other projects discussed by Supervisors

Funding and projects were common themes during Wednesday’s Pearl River County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Pearl River County Airport Board of Trustees member Darrell Fuller advised the Board that some work at the airport, expected to cost $740,000, will now be funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

That work includes replacing all lighting along the runway and taxiway.

Mona Guathier, the executive director of Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources, updated the Board on how many people have received services from the agency within Pearl River County. She said that during the last fiscal year, 606 citizens received help from the organization. This year since October of 2020, 590 people have received services.

The local office has eight people on staff, and she has noticed that there is a shortage of case managers and psychiatrists.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said Pine Belt operates a care facility with 16 beds and has access to a second facility with another 16 beds.

To increase the number of beds to provide mental health care to even more citizens would require the establishment of another facility, which would come at an additional expense both in the facility and the staff required to run it.

Road paving is expected to start soon. Les Dungan with Dungan Engineering said the contractor’s crews for the county wide paving project are expected to start the project soon, beginning with Savannah Millard Road.

He also suggested the Board apply for additional federal funding that could open up previously acquired funding for other projects to be used elsewhere. The criteria for this round of funding is that the project is either shovel ready or a project that involves a bridge that is already closed. Dungan said there are two projects that fit either of those criteria, including the bridge on Shorty Burgess Road and a bridge on County Farm Road.

Dungan said the deadline to apply for that funding is Aug. 6 of this year. If the county receives that funding, then the funding originally set aside to fix those bridges can be used on other projects, effectively stretching those dollars.

The continued rains are having a negative effect on county roads. Road Manager Charlie Schielder said his crews have had to replace three culverts in the area of Timber Creek recently, and the increased rains are causing a number of road base failures.

The Board also appointed five members to the Pearl River County Economic Development District.

Those members are Harold Littles, Adam Breerwood, Suzan Wilson, Paul Reese and Joey McClinton.

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