By Daniel Brunty
The Choctaw Plaindealer
The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors received bids for the upcoming hospital and nursing home parking lot as well a decision regarding the pending closure of the county inmate program during its July 13 meeting at the Choctaw County Courthouse Boardroom at 9 a.m.
The meeting began with an amendment of the agenda, followed with the approval of the agenda. Next, the supervisors reviewed their claims and approved them after.
Next, the board members discussed quotes the board had received for the purchase of a building for storing inventory for the county’s Emergency Management Agency. The supervisors had discussed in previous meetings that the equipment for the EMA department was located in various storage locations. To have the equipment all in one location, it was discussed that a building for this purpose may be necessary.
The board received two quotes for a building that would be 40 feet by 50 feet. The first quote was from ACI Building Systems in Batesville for $24,903. The second quote received was from Halford Construction of Mathiston for $26,393.
With the board in continuing discussions regarding the upcoming closure of the joint state county inmate work program, the board had recently discussed the possibility of acquiring labor outside the county to perform waste management, in the case that the inmates were returned to the state after the Aug. 1 date set for the ending of the program.
With that being, the board met with representatives from a local waste management company who were present at the meeting. Alan Reed, division manager at Waste Pro in Columbus, and Julie Gooden of Waste Pro were on hand to offer the services of their company to the supervisors.
The supervisors informed the representatives that at the present time, they had not made a decision in regards to the county keeping the inmates after the Aug. 1 date, and were still in the process of weighing all of their options.
The supervisors and the representatives then held a brief question and answer session, in which both parties stated what was needed from each. The representatives also let the board members know what would be the best option to use when outsourcing this services, if they chose at a later date to outsource their waste management services.
At the end of the session, District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers made a motion to authorize the board to accept proposals for garbage pickup in Choctaw County with same being due before August 10, 2015 at 10 a.m. that morning. Archie Collins seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously in support of.
Board president Chris McIntire expressed that this motion was not an agreement of the board to acquire a waste management company for the county, but as a contingency plan in place for the upcoming closing of the joint county state inmate program.
The next portion of the meeting was the opening of bids for the hospital and nursing home parking lot projects. Assisting the supervisors in the bidding process was county engineer Marty Crowder. Crowder also serves as lead engineer for the project.
The bid, which was published, has both projects being in one bid, and with two parts. Part one of the bid covers the nursing home project, with part two covering the hospital project. This means the bidders for the project would submit two prices, one for each project.
Before receiving bids, the supervisors had discussed the cost difference in using asphalt or concrete for the project. Crowder had informed the supervisors that estimated costs using concrete would be higher than with asphalt. The bids the board received have estimated costs using concrete as the main material.
Crowder began the process by providing the engineer’s estimate cost for the project. Part one of the project was estimated at $145,549.60. Part two of the bid was estimated at $169,403.50. The total engineer estimated cost is $314,953.10.
Next, the prospective bidders were announced. The first bidder was Colom Construction Company of Ripley. Their estimated cost for part one of the bid was $282,936.63. The estimated cost for part two of the bid was $299,985.10. The total estimated cost was $582,921.10.
The last bid received was from Gregory Construction Services, Inc. The estimated cost for part one of the bid was $204,849.64. The estimated cost for part two of the bid was $222,576.66. The total estimated cost was $427,426.30.
After the opening of both bids, Collins made a motion to take both bids under advisement. District 2 Supervisor Larry McClain seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously in support of.
After this motion, the board picked up its discussion of purchasing a county building for EMA. Chambers spoke on how he felt about making the purchase. “We have other facilities that we can house the equipment without spending the money.”
He continued. “We need to be curious and conservative on our spending,” Chambers said. “That is a fact. Our expenditures are horrendous.”
Board president Chris McIntire reminded Chambers again for what purpose the building is needed for. “The purpose of this was to get all Emergency Management inventory all in one location where we could secure it,” McIntire stated. “Also, in case of a disaster, we would a staging area where we could work out of. This would be a big benefit of the county. Possibly down the line, we could look at moving the 911 services into that building.”
District 4 Supervisor David Carter also made a statement regarding the possible purchase. “I know one thing that we talked about regarding what we are trying to do, whether it is an existing building or replacing a building, we are trying to get a place where we can set up so when we have an emergency there will be a headquarters and sufficient parking,” Carter said.
Chambers then asked if there was any way that the board could table the issue until a later time. Chancery Clerk Steve Montgomery informed the supervisors that he would need to have a decision regarding purchasing the building because the funding for it was budgeted for a while back.
Since there was no motion needed to table the issue, the board made no further action on the matter.
The next item of discussion was regarding the bids received for the purchase of a truck and trailer for District 4. The board had received bids for the truck and trailer during its July 6 meeting, and had approved a motion to take the bids under advisement at that time.
McIntire stated that he and Carter had reviewed the bids for the truck that were received. The bids were:
Tri-State Truck Center, Tupelo, $115,903 (truck)
Burroughs Company, $99,650 (truck)
Waters International Trucks, $105,000 (truck), $45,300 (trailer)
The supervisors began to discuss the purchase options for the truck, which have a different set of criteria during an election year. As the discussions regarding the truck continued, McIntire stated that the truck from Burroughs meets the specifications that the board requires, however, it has concerns that both Carter and Collins expressed during review of the bids.
“I guess the one consideration that David and Archie had is the distance to the shop for the truck from Burroughs,” McIntire said. “If something happens to the vehicle, if purchased from Waters, we would be driving distance from Columbus or Kosciusko. To accept the bid from Waters International, which is not the lowest bid, but it would be the best bid being the vicinity of the shop, and the differential of the horsepower between the two bids.”
McIntire wanted the motion for the vehicle to word the reasons why, and if, the board would choose a bid higher than the lowest.
Carter also explained the situation he had with the current vehicles assigned to District 4 are in bad shape, and knows that the next group of supervisors would have deal with this same issue. “I don’t want to put it on someone else. If we lease purchase it, they would not have to keep the truck and it could be returned.”
With it being an election year, state laws require that purchases of equipment for use in districts within the last six months of the term must have a unanimous vote to pass.
Chambers offered to assist Carter with his vehicle issues. “My offer still stands on that District 5 truck,” Chambers stated. “I will be glad to help you haul rock.”
“That would work, but it cannot get me out into the field with these small roads,” Carter replied. “We have to really look at the county as a whole. Sometimes we make these box decisions, but we need to get out of that box.”
Carter made a motion to award the bid of Waters truck and tractor of $105,000.00 as the best and more economical bid received due to location of repair facilities and rated horsepower of engine. Collins seconded the motion and the Board voted by majority in support of with Chambers voting against.
With the vote not being unanimous, the bid would not be awarded. Carter then made a motion to order a purchase order be issued for a truck in the amount of $105,000.00 to Waters for a 9900 truck per the bid received. Collins seconded the motion and again was voted by majority in support of with Chambers voting against.
The next item of discussion was regarding the pending closing of the joint county state inmate program. Sheriff Cloyd Halford was present to address the issue with the supervisors. Halford informed the board members again that he would need a decision from them soon in regards to what the county will decide to do upon closure of the program.
“To go forward temporarily, we have to give the sheriff something saying that we are going to commit to this or that in writing,” McIntire said.
Collins made his feelings felt about the issue as well. “I think through the rest of my term, I will not vote for another group to take over the garbage,” Collins said. “I will vote against it. I want the next group of supervisors to be the one who decides on that, not us.”
Halford explained that the funding for the program will end on the Aug. 1 date, however, the inmates more than likely will still be at the facility for an undetermined amount of time. Halford informed the supervisors that if that date comes and the inmates are still at the facility, the county will have no choice but to spend funds to maintain housing of those inmates, whether they agree to it or not.
“As far as I see, I don’t see any other choice but to temporarily move on like we have been moving,” McIntire said. “You are looking at a revenue loss of $140,000 versus a labor replacement of over a half a million dollars.”
Carter stated that realistically, the board would have no solution for the issue before the Aug. 1 deadline, and the best option would be to create a transition plan for the date.
Halford mentioned to the board members that with any decision they make, he has the option to call to MDOC to have them remove the inmates at any time. He wanted them to be aware of this when making a decision.
After a few more minutes of discussion, the supervisors decided that even with a contingency plan in place, the most sensible option would be to continue funding the inmates instead of hiring outside labor at the present time. This will allow the supervisors and Halford time to continue with a contingency plan and to review what options will be best for the county.
Collins made a motion to resolves to continue funding housing of state inmates under the Joint State County Work Program past the August 1, 2015 deadline date. McClain seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously in support.
The last item of discussion was in regards to the bids received for the upcoming nursing home and hospital parking lot projects. County engineer Marty Crowder had reviewed the bids and addressed the supervisors in his findings.
Crowder stated that he found an error in the bid from Gregory Construction. The total bid was off by $40.50, making the total estimated bid to be $427,385.80. “This is 35.7 percent over my estimate that I reported to you,” Crowder stated. “My estimate was made from using asphalt payment, what I estimated to be the lowest cost option. I went back in my estimate using concrete made it $36,000 higher. My estimate cost using concrete pavement is $351,023.10.”
In previous discussions regarding the projects, Crowder and the supervisors had discussed the price difference between asphalt and concrete pavement.
Crowder informed the supervisor that since the bid was in two parts, there was no option to remove one part from the bid separate from the other one. “If we remove more than 25 percent of the item cost from the project, for example taking out one parking lot and doing just one, the contractor is allowed to renegotiate their bid prices,” Crowder said.
He then gave the supervisors their options on what to do next. “The options are accept the bid if you have the money,” Crowder stated. “If you don not, we need to rebid, modify the size of the project, or remove one part of the project. There is not a lot we can do.”
Crowder informed the supervisors that the county’s portion of the funding of the project is $277,385.80. The Development Infrastructure Program (DIP) grant accepted for the project is for $150,000. The amount of the county’s portion was dependent upon a match of the grant.
McIntire informed the other board members that the county would need to provide an additional 77,385.80 to accept the bid and continue the project as scheduled.
After a brief discussion, McIntire made a motion to accept the bid, which would entail the county adding the additional funds. The motion received no second and died on the floor.
McClain then asked could the issue be tabled until the next board meeting. The supervisors agreed to table the issue until the next board meeting.
In other news, the board:
Authorized county engineer Marty Crowder to perform the annual bridge inspection at a cost of $21,210 to be paid out of federal funds.
Approved travel and expenses for Constable Chris Coleman to attend quarterly meeting in Olive Branch on July 23 and 24.
Approved authorization to declare items 301-328, 301-209, and 300-308 to be surplus, salvage and delete from County Inventory. (Also noted is that there are two bush hogs previously deleted from County Inventory in the scrap metal pile at District 1 Barn to be sold for salvage material)
Authorized chancery clerk to issue a refund check in the amount of $600.00 plus interest to Wilbur Maness from fund 151 for funds received from Mr. Maness.
Approved Solid Waste deletions, adjustments, and assessments as presented.
The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors will hold its next meeting on July 31 at 9 a.m. at the Choctaw County Courthouse Boardroom.