Probate fees in jeopardy

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Pike County Commission voted 5-1 Monday to petition local legislators to repeal the law allowing additional fees in the Pike County Probate Office.

Act No. 2003-155 was passed in June 2003 and provides for fees to implement electronic recording imaging in the Pike County Probate Office.

In making the motion for the repeal of act, Commissioner Ray Goodson said Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen said during the commission’s last budget hearings that the purpose of the legislation had been accomplished.

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“The purpose has been accomplished and there’s still $400,000 in that account. So, it’s time to take this tax burden off the people of Pike County,” Goodson said.

Goodson’s motion was second by Commissioner Charlie Harris. Commission Chairman Joey Jackson and Commissioners Homer Wright and Jimmy Barron voted in favor of the motion. Commissioner Robin Sullivan cast the only no vote, citing the lack of money for county projects including as the repairs and renovation of the Pike County Extension office.

Commission Attorney Allen Jones reported that in the lawsuit CBC LLC vs. the Pike County, the judgment was in favor of the Pike County Commission. The commission had denied the CBC’s request for a license to operate a restaurant and for a liquor license and brewpub in the Spring Hill community.

Jones also said that the sale of the Pike County Activities building (Rock Building) in Troy will be closed at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at his office. The county commission voted to sell the building to Charlie Bundy of the Henderson community in the amount of $60,000.

Sherry Helms, who with her husband David, spearheaded the grassroots efforts to renovate the historic structure, spoke briefly, for “one last time” to the commissioners. She expressed “disappointment” that the commissioners could not save the Rock Building and keep it government owned.

“We have $16,175 in donations to the Rock Building project that has to be returned to about 800 people,” Helms said. “That’s a multitude of checks and the sooner the money is returned the better.”

Harry Sanders, Pike County Administrator, said the money is in a designated account and will be returned. He expressed his appreciation for the assistance of Helms and her husband in returning the donated funds.

Franklin Walters also addressed the county commission regarding his inability to purchase a marriage license in Pike County.

“To get a marriage license, my fiancée and I had to go to another county,” Walters said. “Then we had to come back to Pike County to have it recorded. It was a real hassle and the county’s losing money by not issuing marriage licenses. People are paying taxes in Pike County and having to go to another county to marriage licenses. I’d like to see a change. What can I do to make a difference?”

Sullivan said Judge Wes Allen is following the law and the only way for Walters to make difference is to run for the office of Probate Judge in Pike County.

Leon Fortune had words of appreciation for the Pike County Commission. “A lot of people appreciate the things you do,” he said. “We don’t always get the things we want but we thank you for your public service.”

and we pray for you.”

Pike County Engineer Russell Oliver said about 200 sites were affected by the 2015 Christmas floods. Ongoing FEMA projects to repair the roads have completion dates of up to a year and half. Some projects can be completed in six months. However, he said no paved roads are completely closed.

Oliver said mowing the county right of ways will soon begin and he expected to work with one crew rather than two, as last year.

The commissioners said keeping the roadways cut is important and expressed the desire to keep two crews. Oliver said he would build a cost estimate for two crews rather than one to present to the commission.