County Commission back to in-person meetings

Suzette Lowe
Jackson Newspapers

For the first time since enacting an emergency order in March due to health pandemic, the Jackson County Commission had its first in-person meeting. Commissioners Dick Waybright and Mitch Morrison were in attendance. Mike Randolph was absent.

A public annexation hearing was conducted regarding a request from the city of Ripley. City attorney Kevin Harris spoke to the commissioners about the May 6 application from the city regarding 72.21 acres, previously owned by Walmart, that would require a minor boundary adjustment.

Harris explained the currently undeveloped site has been purchased by the Ripley Building Commission. Plans for the land include a sewage treatment plan as part of Phase II of the ongoing sewer project. The location will provide fill dirt at a substantial savings for the city. In addition, plans to develop the area with new businesses is a top priority.

“The city will be in discussion soon regarding some restrictive covenants from Walmart that we feel will be lifted,” he said. “The good news is that no one lives near the area, so it won’t impact any private homes.”

The commission unanimously approved the annexation.

A written report by Troy Bain, Director of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), for the month of July was accepted. That report included various meetings held via Zoom. The biggest news for EMS is the approved purchase of two new ambulances. Bids were opened on July 29.

In other businesses, commissioners:

• Approved a permanent change for Precinct 2 from Little Sandy Community Building to Fannin Chapel

• Approved retroactive hiring of Kim Creel as part-time custodian for additional court requirements

• Approved hiring of Debbie Wilt as a part-time employee for temperature checks due to COVID-19 effective Aug. 13

• Approved the hiring of Ali Parsons, Hannah Hinzman, Alyssa Blankenship, Skylar Rose, Darrel Shamblin, Josie Hayman as part-time telecommunicators for the Jackson County 911 center effective Sept. 1

• Approved the hiring of EMTs Brandy Bunch, Sheldon Clifton, Raymond Justice, Chad Morris, Morgan Pierson, and paramedic Levi Riffle for Jackson County EMS effective Aug. 16

• Approved a contract for $4,092.31 with Hardman’s for flooring in the circuit judge’s office

• Approved retroactive execution for the grant award for the Airport Improvement Program Grant-Design Phase in the amount of $60,000

• Heard that AT&T has completed work on the Sandyville Tower and T-Mobile has installed a new generator

The next meeting of the commission will be at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 19 at the Jackson County courthouse.