Lee supervisors approve landfill test plan

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

Lee County supervisors Monday approved a state plan to expand its underground search for possible contaminants around the old Skyline landfill east of Tupelo.

The plan, which calls for additional water monitoring wells and soil core sampling, will constitute phase two of a program to neutralize the old solvent vault at the former county landfill. But state officials want to expand the scope of the program to test areas around the entire landfill rather than focusing solely on the solvent dump, county officials said.

Phase two costs could range from $70,000 to $200,000 depending on how far away from the site the samples show contamination, if any. The state will pay that cost.

But Board of Supervisors attorney Bill Beasley said the expanded program poses some financial risk to the county should the results show extensive cleanup is needed.

The state has set up an environmental “superfund” to handle waste cleanup and it has grown to about $2 million with no major claims filed to date. The fund would conceivably cover any landfill cleanup in Lee County, although that isn’t guaranteed, Beasley said.

However, supervisors noted the risk would remain even if the phase two focus were narrowed. Eventually the landfill would come under environmental scrutiny and any cleanup needed would have to be done, they said.

“We should be OK,” Beasley said.

The solvent vault had been approved by the state and at least 11 corporations have been identified as major users. But there were many other users as well, in part because the state touted it as a regional dump for the toxic materials.

In other action, supervisors voted to hire Regional Collection Services Inc. to collect unpaid fines and court costs accumulated by the Lee County Justice Court. The company is expected to take over collections beginning April 1.

The county is engaged in an effort to collect the outstanding debts and had taken in just over $19,000 in recent weeks. However, almost $500,000 in unpaid fines and costs are still on the Justice Court books dating through past years, officials said.

“We will continue that (county collection) this month,” County Administrator Ronnie Bell said. “But I feel we’ll get about all we’re going to get by April 1.”

Under the one-year agreement, the county will pay Regional Collection Services up to 35 percent of amounts it collects, depending on the difficulty of collections.

The board also granted 10-year tax exemptions to:

– Tupelo Foam Sales Inc., on $170,000 in building and equipment expansion. The company expects to add 15 to 20 jobs by late 1997.

– Mississippi Spring Co., a subsidiary of Leggett & Platt, on $725,000 in equipment and leasehold improvements (subject to lease terms). The company expects to create up to 50 jobs.

– Style-Line Furniture Inc., on about $1.1 million in buildings, equipment and materials. The company expects to add 35 jobs this year and more than 100 more by 1999.

– Green Acres Inc., on about $960,000 in building and equipment expansion (subject to itemization of new equipment). The company expects to create up to 50 new jobs.

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