County resident accidentally costs Itawamba $20,000

By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times

A little mistake can cause some big problems. Just ask the Itawamba County Board of Supervisors.
Due to what supervisors are calling an honest error, approximately 10.5 acres worth of trees planted as part of the county’s federally-mandated offset of the wetlands disturbed during the development of the McFerrin Industrial Park in Dorsey were cut down.
The trees were planted near the Toyota Boshoku Mississippi plant on Fawn Grove Road.
According to County Administrator Gary Franks, the cost of purchasing and replanting these trees will be approximately $20,000. The board voted unanimously to replant the chopped saplings.
Franks said the trees were accidentally cut and bundled as hay by a resident who was just trying to clean up the area.
“He was honestly trying to help clean up the property for us,” Franks said. “It was just an honest mistake.”
Federal law requires when construction impacts a wetland area, the entity creating the “disturbance” offset this impact. In this case, the county purchased mitigation credits and had trees planted throughout the area near the Toyota Boshoku plant.
Most of the trees were hardwood pine and sweet gum. These will be replaced with the same variety of trees.
Franks said the mistake was costly, but could be worse. The county could have faced serious government fines for the mistake.
“This could have been much, much worse,” Franks said.
Following the incident, the county erected signs that designate the area as mitigation wetlands.
“No trespassing,” they read.
Adam Armour can be reached at 862-3141, by e-mailing adam.armour@journalinc.com or by visiting his blog at itawamba360.com.