Residents near the Oktibbeha County Lake voice concerns over the dam's safety

People living near Oktibbeha County Lake voiced their concerns about the dam's safety during a meeting on Monday night.

Posted: Feb 25, 2020 12:10 AM
Updated: Feb 25, 2020 9:07 AM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - People who live near Oktibbeha County Lake voiced their concerns about the dam's safety during a meeting on Monday night.

County Supervisor Marvell Howard told everyone at the meeting the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) deemed the dam unsafe for the last four years.

This raised concern among people who live near the dam.

"You got 200 people, 200 homes and you're not willing to give up your money for that? Shame on you," said Lora Hogan as she addressed the Board of Supervisors.

"You have to realize people's lives are at stake," Hogan said.

Hogan has lived near Oktibbeha County Lake for more than four decades and said her house would be one of the first to go if the dam ever failed.

"It's constant fear every day because you don't know how long it's going to hold," she said.

Howard said he understands and explains that the MDEQ ordered the county to fix the dam, not the lake.

According to the MDEQ, the lake and dam are separate entities. Emptying the lake would not make the dam any safer because the road that runs along the dam would still be deemed unsafe.

"Water or no water, the dam is unsafe," Howard said.

Howard said fixing the dam would cost the county roughly $4 million. He said the county is exploring several options to fund the project without raising taxes.

One plan could involve taking out high-interest state and federal loans.

Another way would be using $2 million left over from the county's state aid funds and pulling the other half of the money from other projects around the county.

Many people said the decision to pull money from other projects is easy.

"How hard is it to see which one outweighs the other? You know, lives are in danger," resident Rhonda Mobley said.

Howard and the Board of Supervisors are still exploring different ways to fund the dam project.

According to Howard, the county would have to wait for the county engineer to assess the dam's needs before coming up with a concrete plan.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 512632

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CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
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Sharkey65121
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844951

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161002006
Mobile741871379
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Tallapoosa7254201
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Escambia6955143
Covington6932195
Franklin6340108
Chambers5783142
Marion5401130
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Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
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Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318189
Cherokee317563
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
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