ABERDEEN – A drive-thru location to service the north end of the county for various tax collector’s and assessor’s office services was proposed during Sept. 11’s board of supervisors meeting. The property is a former bank building in Amory.
“It would only be for tag renewals, paperwork that needed to be picked up for title applications we can print and collecting land taxes on my part. Any new tags would still need to come over here [to the Monroe County Courthouse]. Anything that is title transfer would still be over here. This would just be an opportunity for a location for drive-thru, which during this time, we know is limiting contact. [Monroe County Tax Assessor] Mitzi [Presley]’s part of this would be homestead applications during homestead time and bringing papers back and forth,” said county tax collector Alysia Wright.
There are leasing and purchasing options for the building. Additional costs would just be initial startup costs such as equipment for a small office space.
Wright said advantages are customer service and convenience for people from the north end of the county, which would reduce traffic at her office.
District 5 Supervisor Joseph Richardson asked if there are any statutes objecting such services to be offered away from the county seat, which there aren’t. Board president Fulton Ware voiced concerns he has heard for years from Aberdeen residents scared of the county seat being moved if services begin to be moved to Amory.
“I want to be a voice for all of our people. Anyway we can make it more feasible for the people on the lower levels, I’m 210 percent for helping those people,” said District 5 Supervisor Hosea Bogan.
Later in discussion, District 2 Supervisor B.R. Richey said the board represents all of Monroe County.
“The county seat will always be here. That’s going to have to be voted on by somebody other than us to take the county seat away from here,” he said.
District 3 Supervisor Rubel West asked if CARES Act money would be available in the event the board decided to move forward with the satellite office, and county administrator Bob Prisock said he could apply for it but was unsure if it would be approved.
“This whole year has proved we need a drive-thru. When we were shutdown, there were other counties that could do transactions because they had a drive-thru. We did not have that option,” Presley said.
After further discussion, the matter was tabled for a later meeting.
In other business, supervisors addressed a reoccurring issue regarding delinquent garbage bills hindering residents from getting their car tags. District 5 resident Alicia Humphres appeared in a due process hearing, saying her and her husband purchased property in 2011, months after the previous resident passed away.
In 2018, she was told there was an outstanding garbage bill on the property, but the lien was removed. In 2019, they were told there was an outstanding garbage bill and this year were told there was an old garbage bill.
“They [Three Rivers Planning and Development District] implemented LexisNexis [computer system] and do the search on a lot of those records that hadn’t previously hadn’t been showing up,” said chancery clerk Ronnie Boozer.
Richardson said it wasn’t the Humphres’ garbage bill, and it should’ve been caught before now.
“She has done her due diligence and her homework and has tried to work through all the entities. Now she’s relaying all the problems to us on the board of supervisors as public officials to help her out. We may not could help you out in a way that is the right answer and may say, ‘I’m sorry,’ but it’s time for us to take it to Three Rivers,” West said.
Later in the meeting, Richardson said it’s not fair to landowners, saying the issue of LexisNexis finding more old delinquent garbage bills property owners aren’t aware of is only going to get worse.
A county employee complained about problems a family member is having with insurance coverage. The insurance company is requiring all medical records before an MRI could be performed.
Board members have heard several complaints from employees. In a previous board meeting they approved to switch to the formulary B plan, which includes a $28,000 cost to the county. This option was not made available at the time the county changed insurance.
“We know there’s a problem, and I hate you’re going through this” Richardson said. “Typically, insurance is going to do things to make it harder, but it’s not this board’s intention to go through a hard time.”
West said the board’s mindset in originally choosing the first insurance coverage it did stemmed from unknowns involving the pandemic.
“If that money was gone, where would your insurance be? You may not even get a common office visit paid for. I’m not saying this is a good thing, but that’s why the board decided to make this move. For less money, we could hedge our bet that y’all are covered.
“We’re not here to save money on the expense of y’all; that wasn’t our goal. Our goal was to make sure you were taken care of had this gone south,” West said.
During his input, Prisock said Ware received an inquiry about warehouse space at the Prairie Industrial Park but ran into issues determining who owned what property. To clear up confusion, he plans to make an aerial map and spreadsheet detailing property owners there.
During his input, West shared concerns from residents concerning trains parked on tracks on Athens-Quincy Road, blocking the road for more than two and a half hours. He said a resident called different county offices but was referred to someone else since it wasn’t in their jurisdiction. Board attorney David Houston said he has sent letters to companies in the past about trains parked in Gattman.
Monroe County Chief Deputy Curtis Knight said trains shouldn’t be stopped for more than 10 or 15 minutes unless they’re stalled.