By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
Webster County leaders are considering the qualifications of architectural firms that have expressed interest in designing the new courthouse.
The Board of Supervisors voted April 30 to contact an architect to provide the request for qualifications for work on the courthouse project and to distribute the RFQ to architectural firms that might be interested in working on the project.
Public insurance adjuster Scott Favre, and Carl Franco and Paul Bagley with JH&H Architects, Planners, Interiors of Flowood met with the board May 7, records show. Afterwards, according to the minutes, the board voted to retain JH&H Architects to prepare architectural request for qualifications to design a new courthouse.
Firms submitting qualification packages since then were the aforementioned JH&H Architects, JBHM Architects of Columbus, Shafer & Associates of Starkville, and Pryor & Morrow Architects of Columbus and Tupelo.
Supervisors opened their RFQ packages Monday but took them under advisement. The new courthouse will replace the one that burned in Walthall last year. The county board has not yet decided on a courthouse location in Walthall.
The board spent about 35 minutes in executive session Monday to discuss litigation. According to previous discussion during open session, supervisors planned to call insurance attorney Tina Nicholson for un update.
Nicholson’s firm is representing the county in two lawsuits over how much an insurance company owes it for the burned courthouse. The county is a defendant in one and plaintiff in the other against Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co.
In another matter stemming from the courthouse fire, Tax Assessor-Collector Barbara Gore and property appraiser Mike Sanders met with the board to request a 60-day extension for submitting the 2014 tax roll to the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
“It’s not a problem but it’s something we’ve never done before,” Gore told supervisors. She requested the extension because the fire destroyed records, complicated by the fact that this is an appraisal update year.
The board did approve the request, extending the submission date to Aug. 31. Gore and Sanders said the full extension will probably not be necessary.
Also appearing before the board Monday were Housing Specialist Patsy Patterson of the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, Chief Deputy Jeff Mann, Fire Coordinator/EMA Director Barry Rushing and county Engineer Karl Grubb.
Also Monday, the board voted to:
- pay various invoices for services rendered in the HOME program when the grant money comes in.
- apply for a Judicial Assistance Grant for the sheriff’s office. The grant is for about $3,000 and requires a match of about $1,000.
- permit AT&T to bury a fiberoptic line using directional bore along old Highway 82 between U.S. 82 and Spring Creek Road
- permit AT&T to relocate an existing cable outside of the construction area on a Local System Bridge Program project on Bowen Road.
- accept certain annual bids for goods and services, and to reject all others.
The board recessed until May 13.
The Board of Supervisors also met Friday, May 30. Minutes show motions were approved to:
- appoint Jamie Stidham and Jimmy W. “Pete” Powell as Webster County’s members of the board of directors for the Regional Economic Partnership of Mississippi. The men were appointed for a two-year term and thereafter the directors will serve a four-year term. Their term begins immediately.
- allow supervisors, board attorney and chancery clerk to attend the summer conference of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors in Biloxi from June 15-19.
- allow Coroner/Medical Examiner Steve Wells to attend a summer conference in Biloxi from July 8-11.
- purchase a 1993 Ford asphalt truck from Oktibbeha County for $4,799 to be paid out of the blacktop fund.
- hire these people as summer workers only: Will Bowen, Shawn Hood and Philip Hendrix for District 2; Walter Meek and Peyton Farley for District 3, and Reid Johnson and Carson Gilliland for District 5.
- accept a bid from D Company of Hattiesburg for the sale of a 2013 multidistrict Mack truck
- accept a bid of $118,650 fro Tri-State of Tupelo for the lease purchase of one or more 2015 tandem-axle day cab tractor-trucks. Also accepted was a financing quote of 1.49 percent from Bank of Kilmichael.
Coy Mitchell of Bugs Be Gone pest control service was present at the meeting.