At the July 6 board meeting, the Hancock County Board of Supervisors heard an updated from county road manager Vic Johnson about the availability of equipment for proposed in-house beach maintenance.

Johnson said that some of the equipment could take as long as four-to-six months to get.

“I feel like we could be ready to take this thing (beach maintenance) over around Oct. 1, based on the information we have with equipment availability,” he said. “Some of this stuff we have in-house already.”

Last month, Johnson told the board that the initial equipment cost was estimated to be about $889,000.

However, last Monday, Johnson said that since the county already owned some of the necessary equipment, that number would be lower.

District 1 Supervisor Theresa Ryan asked if it would be possible to go and purchase the equipment now.

“You can’t purchase them, they’re not available,” Johnson said. “See, that’s the problem. They got them coming, just going to be that long before they actually get any in.”

Johnson added that he could attempt to put in an order, but that “there’s no guarantee.”

“They’re telling us that they can have this equipment in by this date and it would be available to us at that time,” he said.

He said that the county is on a waiting list.

The county is currently on a month-to-month contract with Black Diamond Construction, LLC for beach maintenance.

County attorney Gary Yarborough said that the county would have to give the current contractor seven days notice prior to terminating the contract.

Last month, county administrator Eddie Favre told the board that, after the initial equipment purchase, the county would be looking at spending about $475,000 a year on in-house beach maintenance, which would include six county employees. He estimates that the county could see an annual savings of $100,000.

Favre said that the county currently spends about $400,000 a year with a contractor, plus a “couple of hundred thousand for the county’s three employees.”

The board took no official action.

In other action:

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 16 at 1:30 p.m. to hear objections to the real and personal property assessment rolls.

The board approved a request from the Leetown Fire District to add Eldridge L. Dearman, Jr., as a member of the board of commissioners for the Leetown Fire District.

The board awarded the bid for repairs to the the Hancock County Arena to Hopkins Construction and Maintenance, LLC, in the amount of $847,820. There is $250,000 budgeted in gaming to offset the balance up to the $900,000 and use general fund reserve up to $650,000.

The board approved a motion to sign the Construction Engineering and Inspection services contract, not to exceed $27,732, between the county and James J. Chiniche, PA, Inc. regarding Hancock County Safety Improvements Project, which includes “striping and edge of pavement improvements along Kiln-Waveland Cut-Off Road, Kiln-Delisle road, Kapalama Drive, Old Kiln Road, Standard Dedeaux Road, V-Bar Road, and Lower Bay Road.

The board approved an application to be submitted to the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund for the Fairgrounds Improvement project in the amount of $20 million.

The board approved another motion authorizing the supervisors’ commitment of $6 million in match funds for the completion of Phase I of the $27 million of proposed improvements to the Hancock County Arena.

The board spread on the minutes the FEMA Zeta Project obligation in the amount of $120,777 for emergency protective measure operations and in the amount of $4,521 for Hancock County Courthouse slate roof repairs.

The board spread on the minutes the FEMA COVID project ineligibility determination in the amount of $46,517 for PPE materials purchased after June 1, 2020 and FEMA COVID project ineligibility determination in the amount of $43,604 for the purchase of countywide no contact temperature scanners. The board also authorized the county attorney to begin the appeal process for both.

The supervisors authorized a board president and chancery clerk to sign the interlock cooperation agreement by and between Hancock County and the city of Diamondhead regarding the Tax Increment Financing Plan Diamondhead Medical Center project.

The board also authorized the purchase and placement of a sign at Catahoula Park, naming it in memory of Willie Sellers, pursuant to the board of supervisors of March 25, 1999.

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