By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
Acceptance of a contractor’s bid to prepare a site for Webster County’s new courthouse in Walthall is expected next week.
The Board of Supervisors opened 11 bids for the project Friday. The apparent low bidder was Harrison Dozer Services of Mathiston but the board took the bids under advisement until County Engineer Karl Grubb can review Harrison Dozer’s.
If the low bid checks out, Grubbs will recommend that supervisors accept it at their next meeting, which is 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Harrison Dozer Services’ bid was $33,536.24. The next-lowest bid was $40,000 while the highest was $127,695.71.
The work will consist of clearing, grubbing and erosion control where the courthouse will be built southwest of highways 9 and 50. Timber was harvested on the 6.67-acre site in January.
The board approved a motion before opening the sealed bid envelopes to include one of them in “the stack” despite it not having the bidder’s name on the outside. That envelope turned out to contain Harrison Dozer’s bid.
However, the manila envelope was labeled as containing a bid for the site prep project and Harrison Dozer was on the engineer’s bidders list as required. Grubb also read from specifications in the contract documents stating that the owner may waive any minor irregularities in a submitted bid.
Also Friday, the board directed the tax assessor-collector to refund $300 to Shasta Plunkett. This is the amount of homestead exemption he was not awarded for tax year 2014 through a clerical error in the tax assessor’s office, according to the approved motion.
Additionally, supervisors authorized Grubb to advertise for a state-aid construction project.
During another recessed meeting on March 16, Fire Coordinator Barry Rushing told the board he needed legal descriptions of the Walthall and Tomnolen fire protection districts in hopes of getting lower insurance classifications from the Mississippi State Rating Bureau.
In other business March 16, the board approved motions to:
• commend the East Webster High School Lady Wolverines for winning the state Class 2A Girls Basketball Championship on March 14 — the first in the sport for the school. In a related matter, the board voted to reimburse Deputy Casey Henderson of the Webster County Sheriff’s Department $107.91 for hotel room expenses after escorting the basketball team to Jackson for the state tournament. The sheriff’s office later stated it also congratulates the players, coaches and school for their hard work.
• allow Justice Court Judge Jerry Jones to attend an educational seminar.
• proclaim the existence of a local emergency because of the March 5 ice storm.
• create a line item in the Emergency Management Agency budget to pay an invoice of $1,698 from the CodeRED emergency communications service.
• adopt a proclamation designating Webster County a “Purple Heart County” as requested by the Mississippi chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
• transfer $25,000 from the Fire Levy Fund to the Solid Waste Fund as partial repayment of an interfund loan.
• hire Chris Wiggington as a part-time jailer effective that day.
Local attorney George Mitchell introduced 1st Circuit Court District Attorney Trent Kelly of Saltillo to the board. He is among candidates running in the May 12 special election to fill Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Alan Nunnelee.
Kelly made a brief presentation and answered questions from board members. His wife is the former Sheila Stephens of Eupora.