During Wednesday’s meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors,
District 1 Supervisor Donald Hart acknowledged that he had received a call from a citizen in regards to the ruling by the Hancock County Board of Supervisors to remove the gate on Ridge Road on the Hancock County end.
Hart asked the other Board members “So we are not going to take any action on Ridge Road at all?”
Board Attorney Joe Montgomery responded, “I’ve looked at it some and it is very, very complicated both legally and factually. To me, I don’t think we can make a decision today. We haven’t seen the paperwork on exactly what Hancock County did.”
Montgomery added, “These gates have been up for years. And just talking from memory, in 2005 or 2006, Pearl River County transferred all of it’s interest in that road to some agency in the government.”
Board Vice President Hudson Holliday said “If we make it a public road, then we will have some responsibility to provide maintenance on it. If it’s a public road, the next phone call will be from someone saying there’s a pothole due to freight trucks tearing it up and we'll need to put a road machine down there.”
Butch Merrifield recently addressed the Board asking for action on the gate near the intersection of Asa McQueen and Ridge Road. Merrifield referenced a case in Mississippi referred to as the Persons ruling.
Montgomery and County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin briefly discussed the Person’s case that Merrifield referenced before the board and stated that ruling was a different set of circumstances.
Lumpkin stated, “Hancock County had a deed to that property in the Person’s case, but Pearl River County does not have a deed to this road.”
Montgomery advised the Board that they should wait and get more information, understand what Hancock County did before taking any action.
Holliday then stated “I believe the issue is not the road, but the gate and if the gate was not there, it would not be an issue. That’s public land and belongs to the federal government and people ought to have the right to go on it.”
The Supervisors next meeting is schedule for August 7th.