"We received a bill for $35," said Don Chance, administrator for the Mississippi County Detention Center, during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday. "That's the first bill we've ever got from them."
City officials suggested the jail needs a grinder, which could run around $16,000, to shred items put down the jail's toilets by inmates.
"You can flush amazing things through them," said Chance about the jail's toilets. "They've got a four-inch throat."
In response to a complaint about Styrofoam cups in the lines, Chance said prisoners haven't had them for the last four months. Chance also said the commissary has been closed at the jail after a sewer backup April 11.
"We opened Jan. 17 of '99," Chance recalled. "To my knowledge, they brought it to our attention three times."
While the city may have had other problems, the jail was only notified of the Easter Sunday backup, a problem four weeks before that, and one additional incident a year and half ago, Chance said.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said county officials need to view debris clogging city pipes they can identify as being from the jail: "We've got to know what's going on." He asked if anybody else connects to that sewer line, suggesting the possibility it may be someone else's trash. "If it's our problem, we'll address it," he said.
Commissioner Martin Lucas said that while trash like plastic forks and cups won't cause any major problems, fabric items such as shorts and shirts can lock up pumping stations.
Following the meeting, commissioners went to view the problem first hand. City officials removed a manhole outside the jail to reveal a nearly solid sludge of shredded trash bits.
Commissioners and city officials poked at the sludge with a stick and pulled a sample up with a shovel for closer examination, but we not able to make much of it.
"We're going to clean that sludge out and then we're going to monitor it for a couple weeks," said Blumenberg commented later. "I think we'll know more about it then."
Officials also visited the pumping station about a quarter mile from jail that the city had problems with, but Blumenberg said that station serves a large part of Charleston.
"I really don't know that's all ours or not," Blumenberg said of trash there. "I really don't know if its all our fault or not."
He said he wanted to make sure it was the county's fault before putting out money for a grinder at the jail.
In other business during Thursday's meeting:
* The two largest blade mix asphalt projects for the county this year will be about a half-mile on the south end of Spanish Grant Road and about a quarter-mile on Dogwood Road, according to commissioners.
With other shorter stretches spread out around the county, Blumenberg estimated there would be no more than two or three miles total of blacktop laid by the county. "We don't have a lot to do," said Blumenberg. "Three miles ought to do it."
With chip-and-seal surfaces expected to run a third of the cost for blade mix asphalt, commissioners may elect to do more of the smaller sections around the county with the new process.
"I'm looking forward to that chip-and-seal deal," said Commissioner Homer Oliver.
Commissioners also discussed making a visit to Carbondale, Ill., to view chip-and-seal blacktop surfaces there.
* Public Administrator Raymond "Buddy" Marshall complimented commissioners on the courthouse's yard. "I think Junior (DeLay) does a wonderful job," he said.
* Duke Presson advised commissioners a culvert near his farm has been blocked by a beaver's handiwork.