OKOLONA – The first of the month meant the first supervisors' meeting of the month as well.

Once convened, the board was approached by Sharon Moore and Sharon Butler of the Department of Human Services (DHS) to discuss the building in Houston.

The DHS building, which sits on West Church Street in Houston, next to Families First, has several issues that make it downright impossible to work out of until they are repaired according to the pair.

From rodents to faulty electrical wiring, the problems that were named as facing the building painted a picture of unsatisfactory working conditions, and so they asked that the board, who had previously agreed to help pay for repairs and had pledged the money already, that the repairs be set into motion and also that they be allowed to relocate until the work was complete.

After some discussion of where to relocate, it was determined that they would relocate to the Okolona Courthouse while the work is being done. The relocation is for six months with the option for six additional months added just in case of mishap or unforeseen circumstances.

They informed the board that this would only involve relocating the DHS staff, and that Child Protective Services would remain where they are in Houston.

Supervisors also:

– Opened the only bid received on the Indianapolis Glove Company building in Houlka that the board advertised for bids to sell. The bid came from Houlka Holdings LLC and was taken under advisement until the county attorney could review and clear the acceptance of it.

– Approved a contract for a computer program at the Regional Jail that will help keep everything organized for auditing purposes and accreditation at the cost of $5,705 per year, and the cost will be split between the Regional Jail Operating Fund and the Sheriff's Special Fund.

– Gave Sheriff James Meyers permission to get quotes on a vehicle to be potentially purchased out of the Sheriff's Special Fund.

– Welcomed Sue Ard Tax Collector/Assessor, who brought requests for reductions and increases in the rolls.

– Accepted the 30 day delinquent solid waste accounts.

– Accepted the 90 day delinquent solid waste accounts.

– Welcomed EMA Director Linda Griffin, who informed the board that the money has been obligated to the county for the reimbursement for the February 2019 disaster. She also asked that all of the departments consider a continuity of operations plan to be put in place for their department so that they will know what to do if a need arises for them to leave their current location for any reason.

– Approved the meal log.

– Passed a resolution to apply for a grant for Rhodes Chapel Volunteer Fire Department to purchase a new truck.

– Authorized Purchase Clerk Tommie Morgan to get quotes on herbicide.

– Approved accepting a quote on loader rental from Dendy Equipment at the rate of $4,500 per month, only to be rented when needed.

– Accepted the yearly bids.

– Welcomed County Administrator Norman Griffin Jr. who presented the board with the summary of receipts and expenditures for the end of 2020.

– Approved the contract for the renewal of the rental agreement on the DHS building for three years at the same rent.

– Approved rent renewal for a storage building.

– Accepted a grant from the Department of Archives and History for the Courthouse in Houston.

– Approved travel for the County Administrator and the Purchase Clerk for mandatory grant training.

– Entered into a contract with Okolona Masonic Temple for one year, with the option for another year, to allow the county to perform needed repairs on the roof to preserve archives and other important documents. The vote was 3-1, with Russell Brooks, Anderson McFarland and Bill Blissard voting in favor, and Margaret Futral voting against.

– Approved hiring Robin Barnett full time, having completed her probationary period.

– Approved paying dues to the minority caucus for three board members. The vote was 3-1 with Futral voting against.

– Set a special election for election commissioners for District 2 and District 5. The qualifying deadline is Sep. 3, and the election is Nov. 2.

– Approved interim commissioners for the two districts. Gary Huffman, for District 2 and Gus Clark for District 5.

– Approved fees provided by statue for Circuit Clerk.

– Approved the annual road inspection.

– Approved claims for payment.

– Welcomed County Engineer Kyle Strong, who provided updates on the current and future road projects in the county.

– Approved bringing back Tommy Swindle part time for the road department at the rate of $12.50 per hour.

– Approved culvert requests.

– Entered into executive session.

– Upon returning from executive session, Board President Brooks informed everyone that no determination was made in executive session.

– Accepted a section of road on Gary Peters' property, which Blissard and McFarland had inspected and found fit to be a county road.

– Approved getting a right of way deed for the road.

– Gave County Attorney Gary Carnathan permission to file the deed.

– Recessed until 1 p.m., when the board was to welcome the Alliance economic development team.

– Adjourned.

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