TYLERTOWN — COVID-19 has played havoc with many aspects of life, business and government, but it may be helping in odd ways, too.
With the boost in online shopping that grew out of lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19 earlier this year, internet sales tax collections have also grown.
The Legislature enacted such a tax last year and dedicated 15% of those collections to counties and municipalities for road and bridge maintenance, with payments from the state ramping from 25% of the 15% dedication last year to 100% two years from now.
Jeff Dungan, county engineer for Walthall County, told supervisors that the first of two payments to the county from the sales tax diversion for this year was larger than both of last year’s payments combined.
“As long as the internet sales go up, you’re going to get more money,” Dungan said. “You were projected to about $500,000 at the full diversion, but you’re on pace to get a lot more now.”
He reminded the supervisors that the law requires the county to spend all of those funds each year.
“You have to show how your spent those funds each year,” he said. “If you don’t spend them all, the amount you get will be reduced the next year to what you did spend.”
Dungan told supervisors that the airport board may look at major upgrades soon.
Annual airport improvement funds have been rolled forward for several years, resulting in about $600,000 available for projects.
Dungan said lighting issues are likely to be addressed next year, and board attorney Conrad Mord said the board is also considering construction of another hangar at Paul Pittman Memorial Airport.
The board opened bids to repair damage caused by trucks hauling away storm debris from April in Districts 4 and 5, and got a low bid of $139,610 from T.L. Wallace Construction.
Wallace beat out Warren and Warren Asphalt Paving, at $144,888, and Beacon Construction, at $199,685.
The board took the bids under advisement to check the specifications and see if the federal and state emergency management agencies would approve the project for reimbursement.
On other projects:
• The installation of culverts on Brent Road is finished.
• Replacement of the bridge on Sauls Road was completed, but finishing work on the approaches to the bridge needed to be completed.
• The county has enough money available or expected in its Local System Bridge Program account to advance work on bridges on Breland-Brown, Sims Thornhill, Old Sandy Hook and Sunlight roads.