City accepts Garan building bid

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

Eupora aldermen have accepted a bid for scrapping the city-owned Garan building, however they plan to revisit the matter at their next meeting. They opened bids for sale of the former Garan factory site, which is on Highway 9 South between Government and Mississippi streets ,on April 2. Bids were accepted in two options: entire land and property as is, including the building; and scrapping of the building, with the building to be completely torn down and removed by Dec. 31, and the slab to be pulverized if possible. Minutes of the Feb. 6 meeting, when the Board of Aldermen voted to advertise the property, state, “The money received by the city would be used to clear the lot and make it more attractive to future buyers.” Bids from two companies were received, with Mississippi Demolition & Recycling of Eupora, owned by Jim Smith, submitting two. One of Smith’s bids was to remove all material to the dirt under the building for the material in the building — with nothing paid to the city, according to his bid letter. His other was to pay the city $37,500 for all salvageable materials located in and around the Garan building. The other bidder was Byars’ Metal Service of Carrollton, which bid $28,500 for all building scrap. After some discussion, the board voted 4-0 to accept MDR’s bid of $37,500 — contingent upon it removing everything — building and slab. Billy Brister (Ward 2), who is Smith’s brother-in-law, abstained. Because of questions that have since arisen concerning Smith’s bids, Mayor Tommy Lott said the matter will be revisited at the May 7 meeting. Meter Readers Additionally last week, Lott recommended that the city contract with Joel Johnson to read the LaGrange water meters. This was at the request of Street Superintendent Will Gary, who now reads those meters. Johnson works for the Street Department but Lott said he would read the meters after hours. After some discussion, the board voted to go into closed session to discuss the personnel matter upon a motion by Dan Burchfield (at large). The mayor called Benny Neal, city water/wastewater director, into the boardroom at one point during the 50-minute executive session. After coming back into open session, the board voted to table the matter. Other Business In other business April 2, aldermen voted to: • authorize the city to spend $12,249 as its 25 percent match to a grant from the Mississippi Emergency Agency for a portable, trailer- mounted generator. The generator will be housed in the county-owned Doss Building and available for use at any city facility if needed. Its primary purpose will be to operate the police station if its power goes out. • accept these high bids for surplus equipment: $157 from Dale Boatman for a 1989 GMC truck, $325 from Kevin Ray for a 1989 GMC truck, $2,200 from James Shaw Jr. for a 1999 New Holland tractor and $825 from James Ray for a 2006 John Deere mower. • declare the hydraulics on a Street Department tractor and sidehog obsolete and an emergency situation, and to take bids for replacement. • send notices to owners of some lots in Westwood that they are in violation of the city blight ordinance. Burchfield abstained from voting because of a conflict of interest. • declare three computers obsolete equipment. • rezone agricultural property (A1) on the east side of Highway 9 North to commercial property (C2). The property is adjacent to White’s Welding and is now owned by Gladney Mini Storage. A public hearing on the rezoning request is set for 5:45 p.m. May 7. Parking Lot, Alley Bids The city opened bids Friday morning for the project involving the paving of the planned parking lot on the west side of Highway 9 across from Family Dollar and bordering city alley. The city was reimbursed by a Rural Business Enterprise Grant from USDA Rural Development after purchasing the property for the parking lot. Three contractors submitted bids for the parking lot construction/ mill and overlay of the city alley. The low bidder was Ausbern Construction of Okolona, whose total base bid was $101,642.60. The bids will be on the May 7 agenda .