County plans extension office renovation, courthouse roof repair but reports no progress in mental health issue

The Union County Board of Supervisors had no progress to report Monday in finding an approved facility to house mental patients from the community but Chancery Clerk Annette Hickey said they are continuing to talk with various agencies in hope of finding a solution.

The county had contracted with Region IV Mental Health Services to take care of patients for the past three years – a system officials said worked very well – but Region IV abruptly announced closing of the facility at the first of July. The alternative is housing the patients in the Union County Jail and providing for their needs at county expense.

At their meeting Monday, board members did hear a report from Deborah Yates on behalf of S.A.F.E., a facility in Tupelo that provides shelter for battered women and children. In addition, Yates said the organization has received grant money from the Housing and Urban Development office and Mississippi Development Authority to help prevent evictions or aid homeless people in the area.

“Since October, we provided shelter for one Union County resident for nine days,” she said. They also helped keep several Union County families from being evicted as well, Yates added.

“That was $952 for a total of $2,302 spent on Union County,” she said, in submitting her budget request for next year.

Yates told supervisors that clients are sometimes referred to her agency by area pastors, but also people may go to the chancery clerk’s office and be referred from there.

In other business supervisors:

  • Approved an architect’s contract to have plans drawn up to renovate the Extension Service Building at the fairgrounds. Supervisors are attempting to get a $150,000 grant from the Small Municipalities and Limited Population Counties Program under the Mississippi Development Authority to help pay for the renovation. The Extension office is housed in a former fairgrounds exhibit building that dates back to approximately the 1940s, and needs both renovation and some expansion.
  • Approved advertising for bids to repair the roof of the county courthouse. Supervisors said the bid will include any needed wood or other structural repairs, new architectural shingles, repair to the cupola on top and cleaning and sealing the copper skin of the building.
  • Approved issuing a manual check for $47.99 to pay a purchase invoice inadvertently omitted from the regular claims docket.
  • Approved writing off old outstanding checks issued in 2012 but, for whatever reason, never cashed. The money, which actually never left the county funds, will be credited to the county general fund in order to clean up bookkeeping. These checks are generally for relatively small amounts.
  • Approved paying $150 registration each and travel and lodging expenses for two employees in the tax assessor-collector’s office to attend a session Aug. 11-15. Tax Assessor-Collector Randy Dunnam said this is one of the required education meetings for tax staff.
  • Approved travel and lodging expense for election commissioner T. Michael Beam to attend a secretary of state’s training session Aug. 11. There is no registration fee.


The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Union County Board of Supervisors will be next Monday, July 28, at 10 a.m.