Early this summer it appeared that the residents of the Noblin and Stanton subdivisions in Cleveland and the Isaac Daniels subdivision in Mound Bayou were soon to be relieved of their sewage problems.
“Sewage is a big problem for our neighborhood,” said Claude Boddie Jr., a resident of the Noblin subdivision on numerous occasions. “It runs into the ditches around the neighborhood and on hot days, the smell will hit you. This is a problem that we have been trying to get addressed for years."
At Tuesday's Bolivar County Board of Supervisors meeting, the plans for Noblin and Stanton were put on temporary hold while the Isaac Daniels subdivision will be moving forward.
County Attorney Linda F. Coleman cited a decision from the state attorney general that the county is not authorized to operate a sewer system. The success of the plan has always weighed on the approval of the attorney general.
In 2009, the county began asking the city of Cleveland to allow the Noblin and Stanton subdivisions to tie into their sewage system.
"We have been working with the county engineer on a SRF grant to do sewer work on two of the oldest subdivisions in the area, Stanton and Noblin," County Administrator Will Hooker told the Cleveland Board at the July 2009 meeting. "The most effective and efficient way for us to get this grant is to work with an existing sewer system such as yours."
After receiving funding through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and having County Engineer Bob Eley develop plans for new sewage systems, the board of supervisors, Hooker and Mike Tarver, representing the Boyle-Skene Water Association, appeared before the Cleveland board in October 2011.
The purpose of this meeting was to iron out the details the inter-local agreements between the three parties.
Under the terms of that agreement, customers would have two separate bills. One would have been for their water usage, which would be paid to Boyle-Skene Water Association and the other would be a sewage bill that would be paid to the city of Cleveland.
The agreement fell through partly because of the inability of the Cleveland and the Boyle-Skene Water Association to successfully work together and fears of legal liability between the two parties.
"It is my understanding that the city cannot assist the county with the project because of a conflict with Boyle-Skene Water Association," said Supervisor Donny Whitten. "While I am disappointed in the city's decision, I think we need to arrange a meeting with them and establish a dialogue in an attempt to move forward.
According to the Coleman and Eley, the county does have some alternatives, such as establishing a utility commission that would be responsible for operating the sewer systems in these neighborhoods.
On Tuesday afternoon, Hooker contacted the city and asked to arrange a meeting between the two parties in an attempt to get the original plan to work. The city agreed but no confirmation of the time, date and place of that meeting was immediately made available.