Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 22, 2008

thank-you to aid repairs on LeTourneau|[07/22/08]

Warren County has a little extra compensation on hand to match any federal money awarded to complete repairs to LeTourneau Road, taken out of service for about a month when overtopped by Mississippi River flooding this spring.

Officials of the Southeast Supply Header natural gas transmission pipeline donated $75,000 to county supervisors Monday, a decision described as a gesture of thanks to the county for speedy work to lay a temporary driving surface to a water-logged eastbound lane.

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“Significant repairs were made to LeTourneau Road in an expedited manner,” senior project manager Debbie Rias said, adding the multimillion-dollar pipeline project is still set to begin moving natural gas via Mississippi by September.

Acceptance of the check by supervisors represents about one-third of the $231,811.60 cost to build a short-term fix along a half-mile stretch of roadway damaged by flooding. The funds will be repaid into the gaming fund, which was the source of the temporary repair money, County Administrator John Smith said.

“It’s not often someone wants to give us money,” District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon said. “Usually, it’s the other way around.”

In May, the pipeline, a joint venture of Spectra Energy and CenterPoint Energy, paid the county $26,350 for about an acre of right-of-way across part of LeTourneau boat landing to continue construction of the 270-mile line’s route which includes a portion of Warren County. Company releases have said the pipeline will link onshore supply basins with markets in the Southeast now dependent on sources from the Gulf of Mexico.

In June, the road was added to a list of storm-related, anti-erosion repair projects considered for funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When sites are approved, local governments must pay 15 to 25 percent of the grant total – more than $316,000 for LeTourneau, plus engineering costs. The main road leading to LeTourneau Technologies and Martin Marietta Aggregates represents more than 60 percent of the $2.8 million slate of projects.

Officials have been told the project will receive funding and await word of the precise amount.

“It has met all the requirements of the program,” district conservationist Raymond Joyner said when contacted later.

Supervisors have applied to the Mississippi Development Authority for $1.5 million in various state-administered grants to lay a permanent surface to the eastbound lane. Raising the road has been ruled out due to recent elevation surveys showing it less cost-effective to raise it in an already flood-prone area, Board President Richard George said.

On the agendaMeeting Monday, the Warren County Board of Supervisors:On a 3-2 vote, approved abandoning an additional 80 feet of Thompson Lake Road.District 5 Supervisor Richard George, District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon and District 2 Supervisor William Banks supported the measure so a turnaround could be built. Earlier this year, Warren County gave up more than a half-mile to comply with a few residents along the north Warren County finger lake who desired self-maintenance of the roadway.For several weeks, supervisors had studied a request by two landowners asking for an additional 140 feet.

Approved two actions involving development on Fonsylvania Road.In the first, a preliminary plat was OK’d for an unnamed development on the unpaved, south Warren County road. It was one of 25 whose developers were asked to update their construction plans by Aug. 1 or face possible penalties. More discussion is planned between county engineers and supervisors shortly after the deadline and the situation are evaluated, County Engineer John McKee said. In the second, a property owner in the 2900 block was granted authority to install a water line on county right of way. The action was made because the area is just beyond the franchise territory for the Fisher Ferry Water District.Approved issuance of a $4,000 check for the county’s renewed participation in a beaver control program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.Accepted two court orders from Chancery Court Judge Vicki Barnes concerning personnel.

One raised the annual salary of her court administrator to $51,000. The other accepted a resignation of the court reporter.