County officials accept bridge project quote

by Nicole Stokes

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors opened sealed quotes on Tuesday, Sept. 6 for long-awaited repair work on the Clear Springs Road bridge.

Quotes received for the project were from Dozer LLC in the amount of $79,320 and from Midway Construction totaling $58,840.
“The quote limit has been increased from $50,000 to $75,000, so we hacked down what we were trying to do on that bridge to something more affordable,” Mike McKenzie, who serves as county engineer, said during the panel’s first session of the month.

McKenzie referenced a recent change by the Mississippi Legislature that permits sealed quotes to be received on projects with a total cost of no more than $75,000, as opposed to the former limit of $50,000.

As the quote from Midway Construction fell under the state’s $75,000 benchmark, it was accepted by the board.

This marked the second time construction estimates were taken on the repair project, as bids were opened at the Monday, Aug. 1 supervisors’ meeting.

However, the submitted bids for the scope of work was more than the amount county officials had set aside for the project — with the low bid coming in at $217,752.

At that time, McKenzie advised the panel to not take action.

“The low bid was way over the available money that we have,” he said last month.

“I think we have to figure out a way to do it cheaper than what I had drawn up and taken bids on. When we first worked up an estimate and asked for money on this it was October of 2019, so a lot of things caused it to be out (of our price range).

“That is the value of that work — you look at the bids and they’re all right there. But I think we can do it differently and do it within the money we’ve got.”

No timetable was formally announced during the meeting as to when work might begin on the bridge repair project or how long construction might take.

In other action during last week’s meeting, supervisors considered numerous pieces of business:

• Heard an update on progress happening at Copiah-Lincoln Community College from Dr. Jane Hulon Sims, who is president of the regional post-secondary institution, and who was in attendance along with other representatives of the college.

• Accepted certification of petition signatures for Hilda Peeler to be a candidate for District 2 Election Commissioner in the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election.

• Gave approval to execute the county’s mapping contract with Tri-State Consulting Services Inc.

• Approved payment in the amount of $641.66, which was a prorated fee, to Pike County for services rendered by Chuck Lambert in regards to financial accounting for Southwest Mississippi Mental Health Complex Region 11.

• Approved payment of Delta Computer Systems’ monthly software maintenance fees in the following amounts – $60 for the marriage license system; $50 for the Justice Court AOC; $650 for the minute book indexing-paperlink scanners and viewers, and for the virtual minute book for Chancery Court; $340 for the Circuit Clerk court case management, case accounting and fee cap; and $370 for the Justice Court system.

• Voted to transfer $73,930.74 from No. 252 Bond Fund escrow into the county’s general fund.

This amount was previously placed in the bond fund as a precaution in the event the county needed to pay on the bond and didn’t have the amount in the general fund.

• Approved paying $12,599.57 and $16,799.42 in claims for services provided on State Aid Project-19(73), which is a project on Gloster Road in Meadville.

The payments will be reimbursed by the Office of State Aid Road Construction.

• Approved Change Request No. 3 on EFL-0019(13)B – which is on Middleton Creek Road – decreasing the total cost of the project by $3,990.

• Purchased signage advertising county resources – a $100 sign from the Franklin County High School Lady Bulldogs’ Softball Boosters and a $150 sign for the Homochitto River Festival.

• Approved payment in the amount of $175 to Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance for a bond on receiving clerk Lawrence Morgan.

• Approved payment of $993.27 to Walter Beesley for collecting $3,719.54 in Justice Court fines during August.

• Accepted proofs of publication and approved payment for legal advertisements placed in The Franklin Advocate — $1,129.50 for the land tax sale notice, which was published twice as required by state law, and $164.19 for the monthly cash disbursements journal.

• Accepted an order by Judge Debbie Blackwell raising the salary of constables serving as bailiffs and of riding bailiffs to $100 a day.

The business meeting was recessed until 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 15 for a public hearing concerning the county’s annual budget presentation and tax levy.

The hearing will take place in the second-floor courtroom at the Franklin County Courthouse on Main Street in Meadville.

Under the county’s revenue and spending plan, local ad valorem taxes — impacting areas such as real property, business personal property, public utilities and motor vehicles — would not increase during fiscal year 2023, which runs from Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023.

The county’s assessed tax rate would remain at 116 mills.

Chancery Clerk Jill Jordan Gilbert said any citizens who wish to address the board can do so during the hearing and will be allotted a reasonable amount of time to speak about taxes or the budget.

The second regular business meeting for the Franklin County Board of Supervisors is scheduled for 9 a.m., Monday, Sept. 19. The session, as always, is open to the public.