Megasite fire district abolished


The Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to abolish a newly formed Megasite Fire District and to place the district’s responsibilities with the Central Madison County Fire District during a regular meeting Tuesday.

Also, during the meeting, the board agreed to transfer ownership of a building on Main Street in Madison to the city, a request that had come up earlier this year.

Abolishing the Megasite district came up late during the “Old Business” portion of the meeting held Tuesday because of Monday’s Labor Day holiday and appeared to take a couple of supervisors by surprise.

District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin said, “I would like to make a motion for us to abolish the fire district at the Megasite and put it back into the Central Fire District.”

District 4 Supervisor and Board President Karl Banks quickly seconded the motion and called for a vote at which point District 1 Supervisor Sheila Jones voted in favor of the motion along with Banks and Griffin passing 3-2 with District 2 Supervisor Trey Baxter and District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen voting no.

After the vote, Steen said, “You would like to abolish the MegaSite District?”

Griffin responded, “And put it back into the Central District.”

Steen said, “Sheila, you understand what that motion was?”

Jones did not respond to Steen’s question.

In June, the Board of Supervisors agreed to purchase a $1.4 million fire truck, paid for in part by $750,000 in state funds and later set up a new Central Fire District in Canton in part to serve a Madison County Megasite that will house an Amazon distribution facility and other buildings.

The board is expected to receive the truck Thursday, Sept. 9, afternoon in a ceremony with state and local officials in Canton.

Last month, the board, on the motion of Steen, took the truck out of the new Central Fire District in Canton and created a MegaSite Fire District with Supervisors serving on the board.

In response to Steen’s question of whether everyone understood the motion during Tuesday’s meeting Banks said, “We are going to rescind and abolish the MegaSite Fire District and put it back in the Central District where it belongs, and we will have one fire district that will be handling all of that. OK?”

Steen said again, “Does everybody understand what that motion is?”

Jones, Griffin and Banks replied, “Yes!”

Griffin then moved to appoint board members for the Central Fire District: Timmy Chambers, April Love, Robert Jackson, Andrew Hughes and Dustin Bullock. That motion passed 3-2 with Steen and Baxter voting no.

Banks amended an earlier Griffin motion to direct the board attorney to work with the new commission to set up a contract to bring back to the board’s next regular meeting. That motion passed 3-2 with Steen and Baxter voting no.

Jones then said she had a motion of her own.

“I’ve got some new business,” Jones said. “There is a little yellow building in the city of Madison that is kind of across the street from the Methodist Church that the county owns. It has been used by the Junior Auxiliary since the early-’80s because I was involved in it back then. Long story short, the city of Madison would love for us to quit claim that building to them and that would be my motion.”

Griffin said he would second the motion and asked Espy if the board could do that.

Espy said the board would have to first declare the property surplus to quit claim it to Madison.

Banks said the building is of no value to the county unless they give it to someone who can use it like “the Junior Auxiliary or whoever in Madison.”

“The motion is that it is declared surplus and we can go ahead and give it to the City of Madison,” Banks said. 

The motion appeared to pass 4-1 with Steen voting against it.

In other matters during Tuesday’s meeting:

• The board granted Harvest Church Madison’s request for a property tax exemption.

• The board approved hiring Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. to design geometric improvements to the intersection of Mississippi 463 at Stribling Road for a cost not to exceed $282,000 in preparation for building a new junior high school.

• The board approved requesting that the Mississippi Department of Transportation activate Intersection Improvements at the intersection of Mississippi 463 at Stribling Road.

• The board approved an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Ridgeland for Highland Colony Parkway, which states that the county will reimburse the City of Ridgeland up to $1.5 million to complete the project and that the City of Ridgeland will perform the necessary work through contractors, city employees and will use city equipment for completion.

• Following board action seeking Requests for Qualifications regarding rural broadband, the Board approved hiring Waggoner Engineering to help determine a path forward and budget to bring broadband to rural areas of the County that do not currently have access to it.

• The board approved hiring JH&H Architects to obtain a budget to improve the county’s emergency fuel tank facility.

• The board approved the appointment of Russ Latino to the Citizens Services Board.

• The board approved a contract with Central Mississippi Planning and Development District for redistricting services.  

The Madison County Board of Supervisors will meet again at 3 p.m. Thursday, September 9, 2021, at 3 p.m. in the Administrative Building in Canton.

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