By Lee Youngblood

Kemper County Messengerr

This week Kemper County supervisors approved the list of roads to be paved and improved this year, the third year of the county’s four-year road plan.

“We paved about 20 miles last year,” County Road Manager Glenn Williams said. “And we’ll do about that same amount this year.” Kemper County’s relatively large geographic size and small population compared to most Mississippi counties means the county still has a significant amount of dirt roads.

However, county officials say they’re working every year to help reduce that total.

“We update it (the four-year plan) annually and have to approve within the first week of February every year,” Kemper County Board of Supervisors President Johnny Whitsett. “With each year there are less and less dirt roads, that’s the whole point.”

Whitsett said the county budgets about $2 million each year for road and bridge work, much of that slated for taking roads from dirt to asphalt.

In terms of priority, Williams said the county considers numerous factors when looking at potential roads to pave, including traffic, utilities, number of residences on the road and, of course, cost.

He said some roads that had been previously paved many years ago are essentially being reconstructed with a soil/cement base.

“That’s where the existing paved road was paved long ago to lower standards with almost no base under it, and the road is now so rough we just grind up the existing pavement and use it as a base to start over,” Williams said.

In other business during their weekly meeting Monday, Kemper County’s Board of Supervisors approved:

— Agreed to proceed with a grant application to Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks Recreational Trails Program to construct a pavilion near the trail at Kemper lake;

— Approved a request made by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for a marker honoring Reuben Kemper on the east side of the courthouse;

— Approved repair of a heat pump at the Ruby D. Rankin Farmers’ Market Building totaling $4,680;

— Approved various unpaid invoices for propane gas totaling just under $500;

— Authorized travel and meal reimbursements for Board travel to Jackson on January 25, 2018;

— Declared Monday February 19, 2018 as a state holiday for county employees in observance of George Washington’s birthday;

— Agreed to purchase tags for sheriff’s department vehicles and;

— Agreed to declare two aging fire trucks as surplus property.