New EMA director, assistant selected

By BRENT MAZE,

The Newton County Board of Supervisors has appointed Bryan Taylor as the new emergency management director and hired interim director Tanya Fortenberry as the deputy EMA director.

The action came during an executive session of the board’s Oct. 30 meeting. According to the minutes, which were approved Monday during a regular board meeting, both decisions came after a “lengthy discussion.”

Kenneth Harris and Joe Alexander made motions to hire Randy Patrick and Robbie Ritcherson as the E911/EMA director, but both motions died for a lack of a second.

Charles Moulds made a motion, seconded by Charles Godwin, to appoint Taylor as the permanent director at a salary of $36,000 per year. With the creation of the deputy director, Fortenberry will make $14 per hour.

This action occurred toward the end of its regular meeting on Oct. 30.

In other business, the board:

• Noted that Fortenberry advised that exit routes had been posted in the courthouse as required by OSHA, advised new classes for dispatchers to get them certified would soon be available and requested raises for certain personnel. The raise request was taken under advisement.

• Noted that the contract for the new E911 system was presented to the board with a cost of $545,112.86.

• Noted that county administrator Steve Seale said he and Beat 2 Supervisor Joe Alexander were recently approached by Lauderdale County E911 and made an offer to dispatch for Newton County on their new $1.2 million system. It was taken under advisement.

• Allowed a motion to die that would have allowed part-time employees to provide health insurance with the employee paying premiums. Two voted to extend the offer while two voted against.

• made changes to employee salaries including Employee Changes: Wes Williams, Beat No. 2 full-time at $12/hr., Jessica Jones-part-time 911 dispatcher $9/hour, Daniel B. Willis,-Beat No. 4-part-time retirement only, Chrissie Buffington, chancery clerk’s office from $4,000 to $4,120 per month, Suzanne Gressett from $3,044.70 to $3,151.26 per month, Charlotte Griffin-Chancery Clerk from $225 to 250 per month, Kimberly Harris-chancery clerk from $11 per hour to $12 per hour, Billy J Everett-Beat 5 from $13 to $13.50 per hour, Charles Stagg-Beat 5 from $16.50 to $17 per hour, Carolyn Stephens-911-resigned 10/12/2017, Keith Ford-Beat No. S from $8/hour to $8.50/ hour, Brandy Norton-full-time 911 at $9.75/hour, Kelsey Sikes, full-time 911 at $9.75/ hour.

• Accepted school bus turnarounds from Newton County Schools.

• Was advised by Tax Assessor May Bender’s office that 326 bad addresses for delinquent solid waste bills had been discovered.

• Accepted Bancorp South’s rate of 2.58 percent for five years on new Ford Truck for Beat No. 1.

• Will advertise for products listed under state contract bid lists for Jan. 1, 2017. Bids to be obtained for 2018, 2019 and 2020 if possible and advertise for culverts and milled asphalt for multiple years as above and advertise for two-year bank depository for Newton County.

• Received the bridge inspection presentation by engineer Duane Stanford. Newton County must post 29-ton load limit for ambulances and fire trucks if bridges don’t meet the load limit requirement.

• Approved trenching projects on Prospect Cedar Lane Road, Sulphur Springs Road and Algood Road in Beat No. 3 by the Sebastopol Gas and Water District.

• Advertised a construction project with the Beulah Hubbard Water Association. A grant was applied for through Newton County for the funds for the project. Bids will be opened on Dec. 21 after 9 a.m.

• Granted a request from H.L. Goolsby with Carthage Ambulance to scrap a 2012 ambulance inventory# 100•1731, property of Newton County. The ambulance has over 200,000 miles on it and the transmission is out and would cost $6,000 to replace.

• Switched companies that process government credit card payments to ION. The company has a rate of 2.25 percent if more than one department signs up.

• Was advised that a non-competitive DEQ grant is available in the amount of $11,863.60 that can be used for amnesty day, funding a solid waste officer’s salary, and cleaning up illegal dump sites. The county has until April 30th to apply for the funds and specify how to use them.

• Approved the disposal of a Monroe RL 922 copy machine, s/n K3105 in the chancery judge’s office.

• Set holidays for Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 10; Thanksgiving for Thursday and Friday, Nov. 23 and 24; Christmas for Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 25 and 26; and New Year’s on Monday, Jan. 1.

• Approved a special docket in the amount of $34,555 for bond payments from fund #227 Beat 1.

• Heard from Weems Mental Health about their expansion in Decatur and expansion in Newton with them taking over the Crisis Center and Footprints.

• Was thanked by Care Lodge for their budget contribution.

• Declared October as Domestic Awareness Month.

• Met with Hampton Gardner who requested they sign petition to city to condemn or cleanup up Buntyn Building in Decatur.

• Reviewed audit findings for Newton County.

During a special meeting Nov. 1, the board:

• Allowed May Bender, Newton County Tax Assessor, to open a new bank account for 90 days to help with balancing an existing account and authorized her to hire an accountant to reconciling existing bank statements.

• Authorized the tax Assessor along with the existing solid waste office employees to collect delinquent garbage fees for Newton County. The board discussed the tax assessor and collector office to bill and collect all solid waste fees beginning in February 2018.

• Rejected a $20,000 offer to purchase the Newton Health Department.

• Noted that Beat 4 buried a cow on Bounds Cattle Company located at 5099 Hwy 505, Lawrence, MS, 39336.

• Agreed to purchase one new truck for the landfill. Burroughs Diesel will honor the bid price from the last truck purchased which was $82,352 and advertise for a new walking floor for landfill and obtain financing quotes for 5-years. Bids will be opened on Dec. 21 after 9 a.m.

• Verbally rejected a Lauderdale County request for Newton County to give a MEMA drone given to Newton County last year to Lauderdale County.

• Noted that Lauderdale County Administrator Kris Lafferty offered to allow Newton County the opportunity to join with them in a dispatch center. The board took it under advisement.

• Postponed Jackson Equipment’s presentation to the board concerning proposed new 911 equipment until Dec. 21.

The board of supervisors will not have a second regularly scheduled meeting following the Nov. 6 regular meeting date.