Clay supes offer advice for new year

Oktibbeha County resident Greg Wall with Helena Chemicals addresses Clay County supervisors Tuesday
Staff Writer

NASA meets grass mowing in Clay County. And Supervisors start the new year with advice to themselves for 2018 and few changes to their leadership.

As expected, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday moved Lynn "Don" Horton from vice president to president, rotating Shelton Deanes out. H. B. Davis was named vice president.

The board also rehired all county employees and renamed its major positions such as board attorney, engineer, E-911 director, and flood plain coordinator.

"I want to thank everyone ... the county is moving forward. Some of the things may be small, but things keep happening in Clay County," Deanes said as the board was closing out its first meeting of the new year.

"I want to remind everyone that money is easy to spend. Be very careful how we spend taxpayers' money, be cautious spending your money," Deanes continued, referencing the peak of property tax season which runs through the end of February.

On a business note, Oktibbeha County resident Greg Wall told supervisors they could save money by spraying grass along much of the county's roadways instead of mowing it. His company, Helena Chemicals for whom he has worked 27 years, provides the service to Oktibbeha and Madison counties, among others, as well as the city of Tupelo.

According to Wall's numbers, counties spend an average of $200 a mile mowing grass while his company can treat rights-of-ways chemically for about $75 a mile. The high-tech process involves satellites communicating with computer-monitored sensors that control how much chemical is released based on the speed of the truck.

"This gives you an option besides just mowing. It minimizes the need for repetitive mowing," he explained, noting the company sprays three times a year -- in late winter, late spring and late fall.

"It takes a lot of labor off your mowing machines, labor you can allocate to other jobs," Wall continued, noting the chemicals don't produce "brown grass" but rather kill undesirable weeds while preserving "good" grasses, keeping them green and short.

He said the company's three trucks could spray about 35 miles a day each. It takes them eight days to do Oktibbeha County.

In response to a question from Deanes, Wall said if a county had 350 miles of roads at $75 per mile, it would cost about $26,250 per application.

Three times a year would be less than $80,000.Supervisors took no action but said they will review the individual needs of their districts. In other business, supervisors:

-- Authorized Sheriff Eddie Scott to apply for a state Department of Public Safety grant for $47,240 to cover the cost of a DUI enforcement deputy and a $10,000 grant to pay overtime for a deputy to focus on seat belt enforcement.

"Our goal is not to lock people up, it's to be a deterrent. We just want people to be responsible," Scott said, noting he had seven cars on the roads New Year's Eve, but the department made only two DUI arrests. "People were behaving and were appreciative of us being out in force."