Supervisors tentatively approve $1 million in infrastructure projects

NEMiss.news July 20 Union Co. Supervisors meeting
Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford volunteers to help clean the area before the board meeting.
July 27th, 2020     Featured Government & Politics

The Union County Board of Supervisors tentatively approved two infrastructure projects and learned that the county school district will not be seeking a tax increase for the coming year at their Monday, July 20 meeting.

They approved beginning a process that could restore some trees to the courthouse lawn as well.

The two grant-supported projects, which will cost about $1 million, will include road paving and adding utilities to the Martintown North Industrial Park under development.

Roads and utilities

The paving project includes county roads 371, 372 and 373 in the Fifth Supervisor’s District.

The contract was awarded to Wayne Roberts Paving of New Albany, with a bid price of $117,818, which was lower than the engineering estimate of $122,760.

Double T of Holly Springs submitted a bid of $150,348. APAC of Tupelo and Murphree Paving of Tupelo also submitted bids, although they were not considered due to failure to adhere to bid specifications and submitting an improper bid bond.

Concerning the industrial park, Eubanks Construction Company of Booneville was the apparent low bidder. However, its bid of $661,484,75 was more than the engineering estimate of $650,449.25. Officials with Three Rivers Planning and Development District, which is handing grant funding for the project, said the county can negotiate with the low bidder up to 10 percent so supervisors took the bids under advisement until negotiations could take place.

Brocato Construction Inc. of Batesville bid $881,971.85, Phillips Contracting Company Inc. of Columbus bid $853,899.75 and AHS Construction of Pontotoc bid $708,683.55. W&T Contracting Corp of Southaven submitted a bid but was not considered because they provided an improper bid bond.

The project will supply water and gas to the entire industrial park and sewer service to part of it.

Adding trees to the courthouse lawn could come from winning a grant.

Tracy Vainisi tells supervisors about the potential tree grant.

Community Development Director Billye Jean Stroud and Assistant Tracy Vainisi presented the program to the board.

The grant from UPS and Keep America Beautiful is called the Post-Recovery Tree Planting Project and could comprise two $5,000 grants or one $10,000 grant. Seventy percent of the money would be paid initially with the remaining 30 percent at conclusion of the project. No matching money is required.

Vainisi added that she is checking with the city and county school administration to see whether they might want to take part. If the grant is awarded, supervisors may then decide whether to accept it.

Board president Randy Owen said of the trees, “We all decided we would put them back. We put sod down and it is looking good.” He added that the board probably prefers to replace the removed dead trees with some type of oak tree.

No tax increase for county schools

Supervisors simply approved without discussion the funding request from the county school district, which includes $5,079,580 for district maintenance and $250,000 for a three-mill transportation note.

County Administrator Terry Johnson said the amount is only about $60,000 more than was requested this past year and should not require a tax increase due to county growth in assessed value.

Supervisors are required by law to grant the funding request from the school district, regardless. The schools ask for a dollar amount and it is up to the supervisors to convert that amount into the tax millage rate necessary to raise it.

Personnel and departments

In personnel, supervisors approved longevity raises for four unnamed solid waste and tax employees. They also approved changing Frita Rakestraw from part-time to full-time jailer and Pamela Jean Smith as new part-time jailer.

The board approved hiring Chase Bogue as full-time road employee and Amy Willard to work in the circuit clerk’s office to replace deputy clerk Linda Wells, who plans to retire after 21 years.

They approved routine payments including medical examiner’s fees, election commissioners’ per diem claim forms and to the circuit clerk for services as county registrar.

In departmental business the board approved reducing delinquent tax payments from one percent per month to one-half percent per month. Tax Assessor-Collector Tameri Dunnam said this needed to be done by statute after House Bill 859 passed. This was bring in slightly less money to the county for delinquent taxes but was done to bring various offices in line using the same penalty.

Sheriff Jimmy Edwards got approval to take the best bid for a replacement engine for a 2014 Ford Explorer. Community Ford bid $5,849.94 and Kennon Auto bid $5,825.00. Although Community Ford was a few dollars higher, the board said they believe a dealership is more likely to have the specialized training and technology to do the work.

Sheriff Edwards also received approval to accept a low bid to outfit a 2015 Tahoe for K-9 use. CommSouth of Tupelo submitted the lower bid of $6,306 while CommServe of Memphis submitted a cost of $6,414.

The bid includes installing a partition to separate an area for the dog and an area for a prisoner, as well as adding an alarm to alert if temperature in the vehicle becomes dangerous for the dog. Some radio equipment also will be installed.

The next scheduled meeting of the supervisors board will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 3. The body has been meeting in the circuit courtroom at the county courthouse so everyone present could practice social distancing.

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