Meridian Star

March 5, 2013

County, city agree on emergency plan

By Terri Ferguson Smith /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     A plan for the city of Meridian to be a part of Lauderdale County's emergency plan is moving forward.

    The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the city's request to be a part of the county's hazard mitigation plan.

    David Sharp, LEMA director, told the board these plans have to be in place to receive federal funds for emergencies and disaster preparations.

    "The city could either be a part of the county's plan or they could do their own," Sharp said.

About eight or nine years, ago, the city's administration decided to go it alone with the hazard mitigation plan, Sharp said.

    "That plan had expired. Right now the city does not have a mitigation plan. They've got grants on the table right now for a civil defense siren and one for emergency generators. If they are approved they won't get funding because they don't have a mitigation plan," Sharp said. "It doesn't cost the county anything for them to be a part of our plan. It's going to cost them (the city) a little to be a part of our plan but it would cost them more to have a plan just for the city. It works better to have one plan for the whole county."

     In fact, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is moving toward regional, multi-county hazard mitigation plans in the future, Sharp said.

    The county is also moving forward with plans to sell numerous surplus vehicles and heavy equipment at auction.

    The board approved a request Monday to sell the items through Deanco Auction Company of Philadelphia. The items expected to draw the biggest bids are eight dump trucks, which are guaranteed by Deanco to sell for more  than $500,000, according to correspondence from the auction company. Deanco will get a seven percent commission on those sales and a five percent commission on other sales. The sale will be held March 27-28.

    Sheriff Billy Sollie said some vehicles on the surplus list for auction were seized through the asset forfeiture process. The proceeds of those sales would have to be split between the city and county, he said, with 20 percent going to the city.

    A new two-lane bridge will bear the name of two families that have lived in the Smithsburg Road area for many years. The new bridge will be called Barney-Wright Bridge, at the recommendation of  District Two Supervisor Wayman Newell. The board unanimously approved his motion.

    "The Barneys have lived down there for at least 60-something years because I was born and raised in that area and Mr. Barney has always been there," Newell said.

    The Wright name comes from Mrs. Jennie Wright, who passed away a couple of years ago. Newell said Mrs. Wright had asked him if he could get the bridge expanded to two lanes to make it safer.

    "Out of respect to her for prodding me to do that and getting the money to fund the project, I decided to name it Barney-Wright Bridge.

    "It was a one lane bridge," Newell said. "We started back in October to make it a two-lane bridge. It was funded by the state."

    The cost of the bridge was approximately $640,000.

    "It was supposed to be completed by the first of December but unfortunately we had a lot of rain. The bridge is complete but the paving up to it and on it is not complete yet," he said.