Lee supervisors OK debt-collection push, move for DA's office

By Patsy R. Brumfield / Daily Journal

TUPELO – A firm to collect back-debts for garbage or justice court fees got Lee County’s approval Monday.
Meeting today were supervisors Phil Morgan, Bobby Smith, Darrell Rankin, Tommie Lee Ivy and Billy Joe Holland.
Two weeks ago, the board heard a presentation from the debt collection firm and members generally expressed their interest in seeking at much as $1 million in unpaid fines and fees long overdue from Lee County Justice Court cases and garbage collections.
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(Below is a running account from the supervisors meeting. Please forgive the typos and glitches likely as I type rapidly.)
9:00 – Morgan calls meeting to order. Smith prays for victims of Conn. school shooting.
• Engineer asks for variance, other action for Glasgow construction project. Says same variances were granted in Phase I. This deals with Stonehenge subdivision. Agreed to accept the variance. Engineer to keep utilities in the back 5-feet of the right of way.
Carrson Neal of Cook-Coggin Engineers also asks approval of a preliminary plat. Says everything is in order, with variance. Agreed to OK.
Neal says bids taken on project. Glasgow Construction Co. was low bidder at $272,443.30. Ivy says he has issues with a private contract. Neal says not to award this contract will set back the project by considerable time. He said a pre-award meeting should help avoid previous problems. “We’ll have a heart to heart with him,” Neal says. Agreed to contract.
Total project $318,800, Neal says.
• Tim Allred, road manager, talks about bids for new mower tractors. Says Scruggs Farms turned in bid with trade-in, makes them lowest and best. Recommends award to Scruggs, only bid. Agreeds to award.
• David Rumbarger, CDF chief, updates board on Toyota Education Endowment Advisory Committee. Asks board to consider David Copenhaver as a replacement. He plans to retire at end of the year and Rumbarger says his continue relationship with Toyota is crucial to the committee. Programs include English training, other important efforts. Asks board to consider its goals with the committee. Rumbarger continues on board as CDF representatives.
Board agrees to make the change.
• Accepted claims docket
• Approves change from MS1Stop online tax payment to Delta Computer Systems.
• Accepts final real and personal tax rolls for 2012.
Morgan talks about addendums to agenda.
One is to contract with Mississippi Warrant Network for debt collections. Rankin asks about 30 percent fee. Company rep says outside state at 30 percent is allowed by state law. Should be a wash for y’all, he says. If everybody is in-state, it’s going to cost you 5 percent, he says. Rankins said he was curious about the difference of 30 percent over 25 percent. Contract agreed upon.
Sean Thompson says it’s any debt of two places in excess of 12 months? Morgan says a lot of people wait to pay garbage bills when they get their tags. Company rep says it starts with 6 months. He says would like to keep fines at 6 months. Morgan says he’s talking about garbage. Sean says to amend to 14 months on solid waste? Yes, they say. Morgan says problem was going after 30 day old ones but not going after year-old ones in previous contract. Rep says we’re good with 14 months. Will revise standard contract.
• Morgan – about Alpha House, where District Attorney’s Office will move in 2013. No action needed to transfer use. Smith says Alpha House, which has cared for youths, doesn’t need to sit there. Sean says the move will free up 6 offices at Justice Center. Morgan said the move won’t be complete until Alpha House vacates fully at the end of March.