Board votes to purchase one FEMA surplus trailer for use by county VFDs

By Barbara Harrington
Senior Writer
Supervisors presented a framed resolution to Judge David Houston at the April 14 board meeting.
The resolution was to express their appreciation for Judge Houston’s allowing the circuit court to meet at the Senator Thad Cochran U.S. Bankruptcy Building during the year-long renovation at the Monroe County Courthouse.
Judge Houston said he was glad the federal court could be a good citizen in Monroe County and also to be able to save the county some money.
“If we can ever be of service again the the circuit or the chancery court, we’ll be happy to do so,” he said.
Herman Mays came before the board again concerning FEMA trailers he had asked supervisors to purchase for the volunteer fire departments of the county. He said he had received a letter from board attorney John Creekmore, but felt he should have been contacted by the supervisors. In the letter, he said Creekmore told him the trailers could not be purchased from the general county fund.
Mays had previously asked the board to purchase three trailers, fully operational command centers, not used after Hurricane Katrina, valued at more than $100,000 and being sold for about $2,300.
Creekmore said it was not his intention to insult Mays, but there were issues he needed to research, relating to the ability of the board to buy something using general fund money and have it be used by a private entity. “There are issues of law,” he said. “There are issues of budget.”
Mays still said that information should have been presented to him by a supervisor, who should have said, “Herman, we can’t do this.”
Board president Randle Gray said the board had discussed the matter at length and “it hinged around our ability to do it. We advised him (Creekmore) to do the research and contact you; and again, we could have called you. I understand that.”
“I think these would be an asset,” Mays said, “but if you don’t, we’ll look for another way.”
Carl Stahl, with the Prairie-Darracott Fire Department, asked if the trailers could be purchased out of fire department funds.
District 2 supervisor Billy Kirkpatrick, to whom Mays had talked further about the trailers, said he has reservations about the purchase, that “a command center is a command center,” and the county has that with the 911 department.
“You convinced me there’s a need,” Kirkpatrick said, “but I don’t think we need three. I think I’ll make a motion for the county to purchase one of these trailers, with the stipulation we could find a way to fund it. It would be my preference to put it at Splunge and the county not own it.”
Chancery clerk Ronnie Boozer said he thought if the county purchases it, the county would have to inventory it. Creekmore said if the county owns it, the county could man it and oversee it. Supervisors then decided they would talk further and report their decision to Mays at the next meeting.
After an executive session to discuss personnel matters, though, the board came back and voted to purchase one trailer.
Bids were opened for supplies used by the county to carry out its business, such as propane, hot and cold mix and different gravels. The bids specified prices for six months, but only one bid was received for hot and cold mix and it was for three-month prices. Creekmore said since the advertisement for bids stated six months, he didn’t know if they could accept that bid. County administrator Sonny Clay said if they couldn’t, they needed to go ahead and reject it so they could readvertise right away. Clay said the amount the county could get on a daily basis would not provide for a good 10-hour day’s work. Other bids were taken under advisement to look over to determine the lowest and best.
After executive session, the board also requested a resolution for emergency help from TRVWMD for slope protection at Weaver Creek.

Barbara Harrington