Jackson Co. supervisors question spending for oil fighting tools - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson Co. supervisors question spending for oil fighting tools


By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County Supervisors gave the okay Tuesday to spend close to a million dollars on oil fighting equipment.  The money comes from BP's grants to help South Mississippi communities battle the Coastal Crisis. 

The steady parade of BP contract workers picking up tar balls Jackson County's shoreline may not be enough. That's why county first responders are ordering more equipment with BP's money.   

"We still, years down the road, will probably have tar balls and stuff to wash on beaches and in or marshes," Emergency Director Donald Langham said. "We will have the ability to go out, check these areas and dispose of it and cleanup this material if needed." 

There are some few big ticket items on the shopping list for Jackson County's Emergency, Road, and Sheriff's departments: boats, ATVs, pickup trucks, laptop computers, portable radios, even a $100,000 mobile command vehicle. Langham said the command center will improve response to any emergency in the county. 

Even though BP will get the bill for the gear, some supervisors question the spending. 

"What do you need a motor home for?" Supervisor Tommy Brodnax asked. "We got one." 

 Jackson County received $2 million from BP's $25 million recovery grant. So far, first responders have ordered more than $933,000 worth of equipment. 

"We don't want this money wasted," Supervisor John McKay said. 

McKay said the purchases have to be streamlined to needs, not just wants. 

"Making sure we buy items we use and not just set on a shelf, and just leave them there for years and years." 

Emergency Director Langham said that's not a worry. 

"We are looking forward toward the future, down the road, two years from now, three years from now," Langham said. 

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