Two county road projects to get under way soon

The Copiah County Board of Supervisors accepted the low bid of Dickerson and Bowen on the much-discussed overlay project for Carter Hill and Brown’s Wells Roads.

The project has been planned for some time, but increases in costs raised the price of the project beyond the available funding. The board had delayed action on the bid award while they scrambled to find enough extra funds to cover the project. Negotiations were also held with state and federal highway engineers to remove an expensive rumble strip requirement. Although the rumble strips are still in the project, the board expects a modification to be approved which will reduce the size of the strips by half.

The bid totaled $1,513,200, including five percent for contingencies, explained engineer Joe Johnson. The project will be paid for with $645,200 in STP funds, a $161,000 match from the county’s State Aid funds, along with $707,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the stimulus package).

The board remains hopeful that the actual project cost will be less than the bid amount due to lowering fuel costs as well as the rumble strip modification.

In other road matters, the board accepted the low bid of WS Construction of Wesson on the Advance Lane improvements. This project in the industrial park will be 90% funded by two grants, totaling $600,000 and $150,000. The low bid of WS totaled $686,565.72. Six bids were received. The engineer’s estimate for the project was $650,000.

The board programmed the Monticello Road curve for improvements. This project has been selected for federal funding through the High Risk Rural Road Program. A total of $180,000 in federal safety funds is expected, with the county to provide a $44,000 match with State Aid funds. This project will not affect the funding of other State Aid projects, the board was told. The county has applied for funds under the High Risk Rural Road Program for several years but this is the first project to be approved. Right of way will have to be acquired for the road to be moved to flatten the curve.

OTHER BUSINESS

Carolyn Morgan received authorized to take steps to clear out old Justice Court records to free up storage space. Morgan explained that they will actually be keeping more records than required by law, plus many of the old records are now on computer.

Judge Ramsey and Morgan will attend a domestic violence workshop in May at no cost to the county.

Chancery Clerk Steve Amos reported that the final check has been received from the Department of Archives and History to close out the courthouse renovation project. The only problem left to resolve is removal of sheetrock dust from the air vents, Amos told the board.

A landowner discussed a garbage bill problem with the supervisors. The board advises all landlords in the county to add the price of garbage collection ($15 per month) to their rents and pay the garbage bills themselves because the unpaid garbage bill becomes a lien on the property and is the responsibility of the landowner ultimately. There are problems throughout the county with tenants leaving unpaid garbage bills behind, sometimes in the hundreds of dollars, when they vacate rental properties. These unpaid garbage bills can prevent new tenants from obtaining car tags at that address until the unpaid bills are resolved.

A deputy was authorized to attend Taser training in Vicksburg in order to be certified as an instructor.

A bus stored behind the jail was declared surplus. Sealed bids will be taken at 10 a.m. April 10.

The board approved an agreement with Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital to provide meals for the prisoners at the county jail.

Sheriff Harold Jones reported that 61 people were in custody Monday morning, some of whom will probably be moved elsewhere soon.

The lot behind the Allen house has appraised for $6,750. The board authorized a copy to be sent to the property owner with an offer to pay the appraised value. The county wants to purchase this lot adjacent to existing county property for future development.

Confederate Memorial Day, a state holiday, will be observed on April 27.

The personnel policy was amended to reflect the practice of rolling over vacation and sick days to the state retirement system.

Purchase of a $100 ad in the program book for the Ministerial Alliance’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Day was approved. The Law Enforcement Appreciation Day will be held May 16 at 9 a.m. in Gallman.

In executive session, the board discussed litigation and industrial development. The board voted in the closed session to defer rent at the industrial park for DG Foods for twelve months due to a downturn in business due to the bankruptcy of a major customer. The board also requests the Land Water and Timber Board to do likewise. The deferral will be reveiwed again in twelve months.

This action may not take effect, pointed out board president Terry Channell, as the customer’s plant in bankruptcy may be sold soon. If the plant sells there will be no interruption in DG’s operations. The supervisors authorized this proactive deferral in order to help  the industry with the Land Water and Timber Board, which meets later this week. Channell also pointed out that the county is not forgiving the rent, just deferring payments until this situation is resolved.

The board discussed plans for the delayed overlay project, which will be readvertised soon, before adjourning for the month.

The Copiah County Board of Supervisors regularly meets on the first Monday of each month at 9 a.m. at the courthouse. The meetings are open to the public.

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