Courthouse rules in place


By Steve Swogetinsky

The Kemper Messenger

The Kemper County board of supervisors re-opened the courthouse and other county-owned buildings to the public this week, but anyone entering must wear a protective mask.

Supervisors had closed all county-owned buildings to the public in March in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and Gov. Tate Reeves' Stay In Place executive order. County business has continued at the courthouse with employees communicating with the public by phone, internet, mail and other electronic means.

The reopening came in response to Reeves' executive order on Monday to begin easing restrictions to his Stay In Place order.

But local and leaders urge residents to remain cautious and protect themselves because COVID-19 is still a serious health threat. Last Monday, April 27, the state Health Department reported that Kemper County had 43 cases and one death. This past Monday, that number is up to 79 cases and three deaths in Kemper County. The rise in numbers could be in part a result of finding more cases through local testing by the state. That was done at the Kemper County High School April 24 by state health department officials and the University of Mississippi Medical Center personnel.

Anyone entering the courthouse or other county-owned building must wear a mask or you will not be allowed.

"We regret the inconvenience," board president James Granger said. "But we are calling for the wearing of masks to protect our county employees and the general public. This virus is very contagious, and we want to do everything we can to slow its spread. We are trying to look out for everyone."

Supervisors held their first meeting of the month Monday. They took the following actions:

• Approved the minutes of the previous meeting, the claims docket, and the county payroll;

• Received updates from the Kemper County Economic Development Authority's Craig Hitt, concerning a lease extension for Emilia and the new business going into the old Amory building;

• Authorized Board President Granger to sign a letter stating that the HVAC at a county building was owned by the county and is under contract with Air Management;

• Approved the hiring of two new employees for the tax collector's office. Supervisors also voted to release budget appropriations for the office for the third quarter;

• Approved releasing third quarter funding to the sheriff's department. Supervisors also accepted the meal log from the jail and an expenses report from the sheriff's office. Supervisors also moved $8000 from the Seized Drugs Account and placed it in the Vehicles Above $5,000 Account;

• Approved an amendment to the multi-year Encroachment Agreement be the USA government, Mississippi, Lauderdale and Kemper counties;

• Approved replacing a fence at the Satellite 3 barn;

• Approved the deep cleaning of the courthouse by Brackeen Cleaning Service for $2,750;

• Approved two 16th section residential leases for the Kemper County School District; and,

• Declared Monday, May 25, as Memorial Day Holiday and Jefferson Davis' birthday. County offices will be closed and employees will get the day off.

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