The Lawrence County Board of Supervisors held its regular meeting Monday, April 6 at the Lawrence County Courthouse, in Monticello. Supervisors Steve Garrett (District One), Delane Ervin (District Two), Glenn Ard (District Three), Stanley Stephens (District Four), and Archie Ross (District Five) were all in attendance, with Board President Steve Garrett presiding.
Because of the ongoing situation with coronavirus, the meeting was held in the courtroom instead of the Board of Supervisors’ usual meeting room, so as to allow for proper social distancing. The courtroom is the largest room in the courthouse, allowing those in attendance to spread out. Also, several of those at the meeting were wearing face masks, setting an example for citizens to take the virus threat seriously.
Because attendance at the public meeting was to be limited due to the health concerns, the board meeting, for the first time, was broadcast on local radio (WDRO, 101.3 FM), thus allowing all citizens to hear the proceedings. Attendance was such that no prospective attendees had to be turned away from the meeting.
Lawrence County Emergency Management Coordinator Tony Norwood gave the board a status report on the county, regarding the coronavirus situation. Norwood said that the county has received some N95 masks from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and that those masks are being dispersed to healthcare workers and first responders.
Along with meeting in the courthouse, the board experienced another first in Monday’s meeting. During the meeting, the county opened its first-ever “reverse auction.” That is, prospective vendors bid against one another via the internet, to attempt to win the right to sell big-ticket items to cities or counties. Instead of the bidding going up, as in most auctions, the vendors have to “bid down,” with the low bidder “winning” the right to possibly make a sale. In Lawrence County’s case, the county is considering buying two backhoes and two dump trucks. The reverse auction was still underway when the meeting was adjourned. The board will consider the low bids during the upcoming recessed meeting. The reverse auction is a creation of the Mississippi State Legislature. It changes the traditional system of taking and opening secret, sealed bids for expensive items and services.
At the start of Monday’s meeting, Board President Steve Garrett read to those in attendance an essay titled “Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague,” written by 16th-century theologian Martin Luther during the bubonic plague. It is recommended reading for these trying times.
The board recessed until 9 a.m. Monday, April 20. Once again, due to health and spacing concerns, the meeting will be held in the courtroom.
Read more in the April 8, 2020 e-edition