Limited ferry service to island draws complaints
Published: December 18,2013
VICKSBURG — Warren County officials are getting complaints about the short staffing and limited hours for a ferry to Kings Point Island.
Hunting and tree farming dominate activity on Kings Point Island, which was cut off from mainland Warren County when the Mississippi River changed course in the late 19th century.
Warren County officials said Monday the ferry is running a short schedule with only one staff pilot.
The Vicksburg Post reports that landowner Raymond May was highly critical of the lack of pilots for the ferry during a Monday board of supervisors meeting.
May said people with private land interests on the island met last week and are poised to take court action over the lack of access.
A third contract pilot added in November to back up two U.S. Coast Guard-certified pilots apparently failed to show up for the job, Board President Bill Lauderdale said during a tense conversation with May, of M&M Property LP. It has left the Road Department with one pilot, after a separate action Monday to let a second pilot go, and a short schedule in the traditionally busy deer hunting season on the island north of Vicksburg.
“It’s hard to believe you haven’t resolved having standby pilots,” May told the board. “Hunting is huge business for Warren County.”
In 1997, May’s firm filed suit against Warren County to compel the county to operate the boat 15 1/2 hours daily instead of 12. The case was dismissed five years later but rekindled in 2008, after which a settlement reached aimed to keep the longer hours in effect more often. In 2011, the company was joined by well-funded hunting clubs from northern Louisiana in a suit that sought damages from the county tied to damage from record flooding on the river that year the groups said was caused by the ferry running shorter days. The case was dismissed from chancery court when a specially-appointed judge ruled the meat of the case had been dismissed without prejudice in 2002 and the court lacked jurisdiction.
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