ABERDEEN – You may have funds you didn’t know you were entitled to waiting to be claimed, and clicking on the county’s website is one way to find out.
During July 3’s board of supervisors meeting, county administrator Bob Priscock said he linked the state treasurer office’s unclaimed property report to the county’s website. The link is available on the homepage of www.monroems.com.
“Once you pull it up, you can search it pretty easily. It’s all in alphabetical order by name
Anyone whose name is listed can download the claim form from the county’s website too,” he said.
The state treasurer’s office administers the Unclaimed Property Act, which requires banks, business associations, retail stores, utility companies, insurance companies and credit unions to turn over any abandoned money, stocks, checks or cash to the office so it can try to locate the rightful owners.
Through 4,060 listings for Monroe County, there’s $1.257,547.37 worth of unclaimed funds listed. District 3 Supervisor Chip Chism asked Prisock in a previous meeting to include the list on the county’s website after making a connection at the Mississippi Association of Supervisors convention in Biloxi.
The statewide list is available at www.treasurerlynnfitch.ms.gov under the Unclaimed Property tab.
In other business, the board continued discussion regarding bridges. The Buttahatchie River bridge on Bartahatchie Road reopened last week following repairs stemming from a federal bridge inspection last November. The bridge was closed last month due to the findings.
There has been no response from the Mississippi Office of State Aid Road Construction on the matter, according to the meeting’s discussion.
“It’s disregarding the people all together. Those folks in Bartahatchie had to go all the way around. It’s aggravating,” said county road manager Sonny Clay.
“If there’d been an emergency, look at how far the ambulance would’ve had to go out of the way,” Chism said.
In a separate matter, county engineer Kyle Strong was confident advertising for the new Coontail bridge was to start July 3. He said if several contractors participate, the bids will be more competitive.
Board attorney David Houston said a transaction with Weyerhaeuser to acquire additional land at the Monroe County Landfill is expected to close July 17. The total acreage is 68.28 acres.
“It’s actually a little more acreage than we initially thought we were going to get, which is good. It gives us a little more expansive space at the landfill,” Houston said.
He also completed the deed for two pieces of property at the Prairie Industrial Site formerly occupied by Mirex Formulation Plant, which dealt with fire ant control. The 6.7 acres of land will be shared jointly with the City of Aberdeen.
Houston also said the hearing regarding the county’s litigation with Monroe Gas is scheduled for December.
In speaking about reimbursement for debris pickup, Clay thinks it could be 60 to 90 days before the county gets its first reimbursement. For services so far, the monitoring company, Debris Tech, has sent a $52,000 bill. The company picking up debris has not sent a bill yet.
The county must pay 12.5 percent of the cost associated with debris pickup and monitoring, with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency picking up 12.5 and the Federal Emergency Management Agency covering 75 percent of the cost.
County officials will meet this week with the MEMA representative who is handing the electronic filing for the FEMA with the cleanup.
Prisock reported on correspondence with an official at Mississippi State University regarding the need for improved internet service at the Monroe County Extension Service, a topic carried over from July 1’s meeting. He learned the county, not MSU, pays for internet service, and by changing providers, it will be a cost-saver of $120 per month with better service.
The board approved for Chism to make a $500 donation from his rural recreation fund to the Bartahatchie RCDC and for District 4 Supervisor Fulton Ware to donate $500 from his rural rec. fund to the Aberdeen Housing Authority for its student stipend program.
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NETTLETON – Nettleton leaders are working towards a plan to bring new life to Young Avenue, which acts as the town’s Main Street, by capitalizing on economic development. During its July 1 meeting, the board of aldermen approved resolutions to apply for a small municipalities grant hosted by the Mississippi Development Authority and matching funds if awarded.
The Mississippi Legislature allocates funds for the grant to provide for economic development in small rural areas across the state to help them achieve the next step in their goals.
“We have a lot of vacant buildings and have contacted their owners, and they’re willing to sell. Mississippi Main Street is involved in helping. We think the total budget could go down,” said Nettleton City Clerk Dana Burcham of the project.
Young Avenue has eight businesses currently in operation, flanked by the Dorothy J. Lowe Library and the Mississippi Northern District Public Service Commissioner’s office. There are four vacant buildings alongside the street targeted through the revitalization project.
As it stands now, the scope of the project is $266,000, which includes $114,000 to purchase the empty buildings, $100,000 to renovate them, $20,000 for a renovation contingency and $32,000 for a Mississippi Main Street vision plan.
“The grant is for economic development. If we can get the buildings rented and occupied, it would get more business to the main part of town,” Burcham said. “The three top priorities through the grant are economic development, which is the top priority; community improvements; and public improvements.”
According to Jenny Savely, project manager of Three Rivers Planning and Development District’s community and economic development division, the small municipalities grant requires only a 10 percent match. The grant is worth $150,000.
“Several downtown business owners have written letters saying the aesthetics of downtown are hindering growth,” said Savely, who is administrating the grant application for Nettleton. “People don’t want to go into a building they’d have to renovate.”
Burcham said Nettleton applied for the same grant before for street paving.
The deadline to apply for the grant is at the end of August, and Burcham is unsure when winning applicants will be announced.
She said Nettleton needs the support of Mississippi legislators for the project. In addition to the business owners’ letters of support, citizens have done the same.
A mural project on the side of the Holland Building, which houses the library, will add a visual impact soon to the Young Avenue area. Moving the library into the bigger building was one of the current city administration’s goals to improve the town.
The board of aldermen has also approved lighting improvements to the Young Avenue area.
Mayor Mem Riley and the board have also made a push for continued growth alongside the Highway 45 bypass during the current administration, and Nettleton Hardware, DingerNation, BAM! Market, Hawkins Tire Center and a future medical complex are success stories to that goal.
In other business of last week’s meeting, aldermen approved to condemn a home alongside a residential area of Young Avenue. In a related matter, the board accepted Nathan Sizemore’s low bid of $2,400 to demolish a home alongside Monroe Street.
A July 18 date was set for the board to have a work session regarding a new property maintenance code.
Aldermen approved new building permit fees, which include different pay scales across the board, effective July 8.
The board also approved 10-year tax exemptions for Homestretch Furniture, United Furniture Industries and Magnum Metals. It was tabled during the June meeting due to the city awaiting confirmation the Monroe County Board of Supervisors approved the exemptions.
AMORY – With rising summertime temperatures comes the increasing number of children using Frisco Park’s interactive water fountain. During its July 2 meeting, the board of aldermen discussed the need for increased safety with pedestrians in and out of the park.
Ward 3 Alderman Tony Poss started the conversation by inquiring about the placement of low-profile speed bumps to slow traffic in the area where pedestrians must cross traffic lanes near the fire station to use the public restrooms adjacent to the police station.
Amory Fire Chief Zack McGonagill concurred with Poss’ concern.
“Traffic has picked up tremendously since the splash pad was built,” he said.
According to city clerk Jamie Morgan, the splash pad is attracting people from beyond the local community, and out-of-town drivers aren’t always aware of the traffic pattern around City Hall, which is counter-clockwise. She is studying the traffic situation with the police and fire department staffs to determine the most effective combination of traffic control using signs and bump stops.
“The small building next to the stage is a family bathroom,” she said after the meeting. “The sign may not be up yet, but it is available for public use. We’re concerned about the safety of the public, especially children, crossing traffic lanes to use the other bathrooms.”
Public works director Glen Smith agreed to have options ready to present at the next meeting.
In other business, aldermen approved to sponsor a table for a July 11 luncheon in Tupelo for the Mud & Magnolias’ Influential Women Luncheon 2019. Amory Main Street Director Alyssa Benedict was named as one of 20 finalists for the award to be presented at the luncheon.
“It’s sort of a big deal. We approve ads for others that aren’t always from Amory, so I feel we need to take this opportunity to support our own Main Street director,” said Mayor Brad Blalock.
Benedict was surprised at the news of her nomination.
“It’s an honor. I was flattered,” she said.
Benedict is in her second year serving as director of Amory Main Street.