A partial Union County Board of Supervisors dealt with several substantial matters at their meeting Monday, but delayed action on a couple pending for information and a return of the full board.
First District Supervisor Sam Taylor and Fifth District Supervisor Steve Watson were absent due to illness.
In one matter, supervisors reviewed bids on a new camera surveillance system for the county jail, but after discussion voted to take the bids under advisement.
Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said he was generally pleased but had a question. “They were about $20,000 under what we expected,” he said. Board President Randy Owen agreed, saying, “They saved us a good bit of money.”
One question was that what appeared to be the better bid was about $400 higher than the other. That was based on distance as well as specificity in equipment.
In the past, government bodies have been able to select the lowest or best bid, with the implication they could accept a bid that was not lowest if there were extenuating circumstances or they had experienced problems with the low bidders.
However, these bids came from the so-called reverse auction process the state is using more and more. Bidders submit a price and can then submit a lower one if competition is strong enough until each bidder reaches his low limit.
The problem with this is that the county in essence pre-certifies bidders before the auction, so there is no grounds to then reject that bidder.
Board attorney Chandler Rogers is investigating what can be done and the board may consider rejecting the bids and obtaining two quotes. They can get quotes because the bids are under $50,000 and they expected the totals to be more than $50,000, requiring competitive bidding.
In a second item, supervisors acknowledged that they have received a second set of bids on renovation of the old county jail and courthouse, but announced no totals, saying they wanted to take that matter under advisement until the full board was present.
District One Supervisor Sam Taylor and District Five Supervisor Steve Watson were absent due to illness.
A second set of bids was sought after the first bids were much higher than expected as well as higher than the Department of Archives and History grant awarded for the work. The second set came in response to modified specifications.
In yet another matter, the board approved a lease proposal and agreement with Diamond Towers V, LLC to construct a cell phone tower at the county fairgrounds.
The tower will be at the eastern edge of the fairgrounds and will allow removal of the old former highway patrol tower near there, which has been at the location close to 70 years.
Supervisors said the company will pay the county about $1,000 a month for the lease but perhaps the greatest value will be that antennas on the old tower can be moved to the new tower. The new tower is not expected to be as tall as the old one and it was not clear exactly which radio services would be moved to the new tower.
Concerning fire protection, the board accepted the donation of a 1998 fire truck and tank from the Alpine Volunteer Fire Department and approved purchase of a new truck for North Haven for the state contract price. The truck will cost about $296,000, part of which will be paid for with $90,000 in fire rebate funds. The North Haven department will provide about $10,000 for added equipment for the truck. Delivery time will be six to eight months.
In personnel, supervisors voted to hire one full-time solid waste employee, one part-time solid waste employee and one road department employee.
They also approved longevity raises for Jeremy Easterling and Bud Kiddy.
The board had been scheduled to go into executive session to discuss a tax issue, but learned the issue had been resolved.
The matter involved taxes owed by VIP Cinema Seating, which had filed for bankruptcy. Board attorney Chandler Rogers said an agreement had been worked out so the former owners would pay their proportion and new owners would pay the rest.
The board did meet in executive session so the county’s industrial developer, Gary Chandler, could give them an update on efforts to recruit new companies for the county.
The next scheduled board meeting will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 7.Board of Supervisors, cell tower, county personnel, court house renovation, New Albany, Northeast Mississippi, old jail, Union County