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Supervisors seek forester

Lafayette County officials are hopeful they will be able to contract with a forester to assist in determining the value of timber and possibility of clear-cutting the trees on property just east of County Road 406.

County engineer Larry Britt recommended to the Board of Supervisors during Tuesday night’s meeting to advertise proposals for a forester.

“I found out right quick that I’m an engineer but not a forester,” Britt said in regard to clearing the approximately 25 acres of timber.

Britt suggested the board advertise for the services of a forester for a fee of $1,500.

“If we don’t accept the bids for the timber, whoever we hire will receive $1,500 for their work,” Britt said. “If we do accept the bids, they will receive a percentage in lieu of the $1,500 fee.”

The money generated from the timber clearing could possibly be used for grading the property, as well as erosion control, until the board determines what they will construct on the site.

Although there is no definite plan for the property, the previous board had indicated they would like to use the site to construct a centralized location for a health department and justice court facility. The county is waiting to see if the Mississippi Department of Transportation is going to purchase the property on Highway 7 that currently includes county health department and justice court facilities before they follow through with a plan for the site.

Board President Jeff Busby reminded those in attendance clearing the land is preliminary and the county first wants to determine what the timber is worth before making decisions on clearing the property.

“At this time there is no plan (for the property), just an estimate on what the timber is worth,” Busby said. He also wanted to make it clear that property west of Rolling Woods subdivision is not being considered to be cleared.

Supervisor Kevin Frye said he is in favor of contracting a forester for the property, but is concerned about erosion if the property is clear-cut and nothing is built on the site for an extended period of time.

The board decided to approve a proposal to advertise for a certified forester.

In other matters, the board accepted bids for box culvert work on County Road 432. Britt recommended the low bid of $258,522.10 from Colom Construction Company Inc. based in Ripley for LSBP-36(25) and the low bid of $179,242.80 from Townes Construction Inc. from Grenada for LSBP-36(26).

Supervisors also approved paying $7,410 for 1.9 wetlands credit for the LSBP-36(28) bridge project on County Road 254. Britt said wetlands were determined to be in the northwest area of the project. In order for the project to proceed, state aid needed verification the county would pay the fee.

“The bridge down there is in terrible shape,” Busby said.

“State aid won’t allow the continuation of the project until we take care of the wetlands,” Britt said.

The board also heard and accepted the four-year road plan from road manager Jerry Haynie.