The Supervisors’ November 6 meeting opened with a little heat, but cooled off to deal with a full agenda of routine business.
Leading off Monday was Don Nichols, who was upset because the county had cleared some brush on county-owned land. Nichols said he had bought five acres intending “to build a $700-thousand-dollar house” on it. He said his land is immediately adjacent to 100 acres the county bought on the west side of New Albany for industrial development.
The county recently cleared brush and weeds from its property.
Nichols, while admitting that the county “has the right” to clear brush from its own land, complained that the county should have consulted with him before clearing the brush. He said the county clearing its land had not been beneficial to his intended house site. “There’s nothing now between me and the Delta,” said Nichols.
He asked the board why it had cleared the land. He asked “what are you going to do about it?” This an apparent reference to his desire that the the county plant new trees and shrubs to screen his land from the industrial development site.
Board of Supervisors President Dave Kitchens told Nichols the county is cleaning up the land as part of the process of making it attractive to potential new industries. Kitchens said he thought there might be “some landscaping work” done at the industrial development site in the future.
Nichols pressed his case, seeking a specific commitment from the supervisors. He said he wanted the county treasury to provide “maple trees with a trunk diameter of three inches on 20-foot centers…and crape myrtles of “twenty-gallon” size, to be planted in the area where the county had removed brush from its property.
The board took no action on the Don Nichols complaint.
Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards told the board his department had received a grant of $6,381 for the purchase of bullet-proof vests for his officers. The Kevlar vests cost $614 each, so the grant money will buy only 10 of the 26 vests needed. The board voted an appropriation of $9,598 to buy the the additional protective vests.
The supervisors unanimously approved support for a state legislative action that would name a portion of Highway 15 for the late John David Pennebaker. State Representative Margaret Ellis Rogers is expected to introduce a measure during the upcoming legislative session that would name the stretch of Highway 15 from the Tippah County line to the New Albany city limits for Pennebaker.
Pennebaker, who died in March, 2016, represented Union County in the Mississippi legislature, served as New Albany mayor, and as Union County chancery clerk at various times during a long career. He was an attorney.
Pennebaker is especially remembered for the part he played in convincing the state legislature to pass the 1986 Four Lane Highway Program. Highway 15 is one of many roads around the state that went from two lanes to four lanes because of the 1987 action.
The balance of the 28-minute was devoted to routine matters: paying the bills, approving routine fees and reports, etc.
The Supervisors’ November 6 meeting recessed after 28 minutes and will convene again at 10 am, Monday, Nov. 20.
More about John David Pennebaker: A man of accomplishment and integrity