Supervisors review extent of building repairs

by Sean Dunlap

The county-owned building housing the Mississippi State University Extension Service office, Franklin County Museum and Election Commissioners’ office was once again a topic for discussion by the Franklin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

The building sustained significant water damage as improperly placed flashing on the flat roof caused water to pool at one end after rain events.

District 2 Supervisor Henry “Eddie” Stebbins began pushing for repairs two years ago and noted if something wasn’t done to correct the issues, the building could potentially be lost due to leak damage to its ceilings, walls and floors.

Last year, the roof was replaced and a contractor was hired to repair the inside of the structure at the corner of Main and Walnut streets in Meadville.

Last week, Chancery Clerk Jill Jordan Gilbert raised the question of whether the work currently being undertaken on the building also included repairs to the museum and that section of the building used by the election commissioners.

“As far as I know, just the Extension Service office was in the quote,” District 5 Supervisor and Board President Jimmie “Bodi” Bass responded.

Gilbert said she was informed that the portion of the building used by the election commissioners also had water damage — including some fallen ceiling tiles — which predated repairs to the roof of the building.

The museum saw interior damage from the leaking roof, as well.

Supervisors agreed to look into the latest concerns, but no immediate action was taken during the meeting.

In other matters to come before the panel, Supervisors considered these action items:

• Approved a resolution for a Home Investment Partnerships Grant through the Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District for fiscal year 2023.

• Heard from Gilbert that the county will receive Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Funds in the amount of $774,951.52, which will be deposited in two installments.

• Approved payment of a $6,082.90 claim to Belinda Stewart Architects related to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History grant received for repairs to be done on the courthouse.

“(A representative from the firm) said they’re working on finishing the construction documents and specifications and updating the cost estimate,” Gilbert said. “They’ll be scheduling a document review this month.”

• Voted to change the fire investigator position from Roger Causey back to Dewayne Whetstone.

• Accepted proof of publication from and approved payment to The Franklin Advocate in the amount of $127.20 for the November, 2022 cash disbursements journal.

• Approved retaining the services of board attorneys Bill Halford and Morgan Halford Poore for the 2023 calendar year.

• Approved paying $585.37 to Walter Beesley for collecting $2,341.30 in Justice Court fines during December.

• Gave approval to pay $100 to Higginbotham Insurance Agency for a bond on chancery court reporter Maury Parker.

• Heard from county engineer Mike McKenzie that although there was some damage to county roads after a heavy rain event in December, there was not enough to apply for funding from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for repairs.

However, McKenzie said the panel could look into using funds from the Office of State Aid Road Construction to repair one road in District 4 that was already damaged and suffered further due to the heavy rainfall.

The next supervisors’ meeting will be held at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 17 at the courthouse in Meadville.