By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
Aldermen have taken bids for demolition and reconstruction of three substandard houses in the city under advisement.
Mayor Tommy Lott opened the bids from housing contractors on behalf of three homeowners during a special called meeting Monday morning.
The Mississippi Development Authority has awarded the city a Homeowner Rehabilitation (HOME) Grant to build new houses for Linda Joliff of 335 Martin Luther Jr. Drive, Alma Ford of 278 Dunlap and Denise Perkins of 120 W. Clark St.
The Board of Aldermen took the bids under advisement to await a recommendation for contract acceptance from the Golden Triangle Planning and Development Association at its next regular meeting on June 3.
The apparent low bidders were K&T Construction of Durant for Joliff’s house ($98,794), and Gladney Construction of Eupora for both Ford’s house ($105,793.49) and Perkins’ house ($107,380.40).
Housing Specialist Patsy Patterson and Program Coordinator Spencer Broock of the GTPDD, which is administering the grant, were present for the bid opening. They said all bids for Ford’s house were over the budgeted limit set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and that construction of that house may have to be rebid.
Also Monday, the Board of Aldermen passed an interlocal agreement as presented between the Webster County Board of Supervisors and the city for use of the municipal courtroom in Eupora for Circuit Court at no charge to the county.
Circuit Court has met in the Justice Court courtroom in the County Office Building since the courthouse burned in January. County supervisors voted April 30 to designate the municipal courtroom, which is part of the Community Center within the Eupora City Hall complex, as the alternative site for Circuit Court.
The agreement stipulates that Circuit Court may hold court there at any time except on Tuesday afternoons (when Eupora Municipal Court is held), on election days, Saturdays and Sundays, and on legal holidays when City Hall is not open. Use of the courtroom will include use of the boardroom, kitchen adjacent to the courtroom and police interrogation room.
Dan Burchfield (at large) said during discussion of the agreement, “It’s redundant and not needed; we’ve already passed it.”
He was referring to a previous interlocal agreement between the city and county designating the Community Center as the official site for Webster County Chancery Court and Youth Court, and as the alternative site for Webster County Circuit Court.
The Board of Aldermen accepted that agreement on Feb. 4 and the Board of Supervisors voted to enter into it on Feb. 7.
May 6 meeting
At its regular monthly meeting on May 6, the board had a lengthy discussion with Clint Mann, who sought clarification about the city’s contract with Mann and his father, Don Mann, to work land at Industrial Park 3 and the city airport.
On Feb. 4, aldermen awarded a contract to the Manns, who were high bidders, to lease the Industrial Park land for agricultural purposes, and to cut and haul hay from the cleared grassland adjoining the airport runway. The motion stipulated that $3,125 would be payable upon signature of the contract and the remaining balance of $3,125 would be paid by the end of October.
After tabling the matter twice, the board voted April 1 after much discussion to accept a contract for the leases between the city and the Manns.
On May 6, the board voted to amend its resolution of Feb. 4 by changing the method of payment (to one lump-sum payment of $6,250 by Oct. 31) and to accept the contract as then presented.
In other business May 6, the board:
• accepted a resolution authorizing the GTPDD to submit a Community Development Block Grant application for lagoon stabilization.
This followed an initial public hearing about the grant before the meeting at which no opposition was voiced. District Planner George Crawford reviewed development of the grant application during the hearing.
• authorized the GTPPD to submit a Justice Assistance Grant application for the city. The $3,000 grant for Police Department equipment requires a $1,000 match for a total of $4,000.
• reviewed the monthly business development report prepared by consultant Dianne Dyar, who was unable to attend.
• accepted a contract with Eric Burgess to install radio-read water meters in the Bellefontaine systems at $10 a meter starting May 7 and ending July 1 with limited liability on the city’s part.
The board voted April 26 to contract with Burgess for the work; funding is to be taken out of Water Department reserves.
• approved an ad valorem tax exemption request from Plymouth Tube on additions and expansion in 2012.
• accepted a letter of engagement from Watkins, Ward and Stafford for financial training purposes.
CPA Chris Turnipseed of the accounting firm previously met with the Board of Aldermen about the matter during a special called meeting on April 18. According to minutes of that meeting, Turnipseed said he would like for Tony Thompson to create a report to show more budget details, and to make it easier for the board and city clerk to understand and make budget adjustments as needed.
Thompson is with Deep South Software Solutions of Starkville, which provides accounting software for the city. He presented a computer software update and financial reports to the board on May 6
The April 18 meeting included a presentation by Jeremy Murdock, research associate with the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State University.
He presented a conceptual site for the former Garan manufacturing property, including strategies for redeveloping the abandoned site. No action was taken, according to the minutes (see related article in this issue).
Billy Brister (Ward 2) was absent May 6 and Monday.