City, county split road work funds

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2000

Pencils were flying and calculators were clicking Wednesday evening as Adams County Board of Supervisors and Natchez Board of Aldermen struggled over how money for the reconstruction of Government Fleet Road will be split if an anticipated grant does not come through.

After more than an hour of debate, some of it heated, the boards reached a consensus that allows the city engineering department to proceed with preliminary engineering work and keep construction on schedule.

The agreed ratio is 50-50, with both the city and the county reimbursing each other for in-kind work already performed.

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According to figures compiled and supplied to board members by City Engineer David Gardner, the city engineering department to date has spent $28,000 on in-kind work.

Russell Dorris, county road manager, said the amount spent by the county on similar work is a &uot;small percentage&uot; of the city’s, a roughly estimated $2,000.

The numbers break down as follows: The estimated total needed for the match is $378,500. The city and county agreed to split that 50-50, for $189,250 each.

Subtract $88,000 from the county and $55,000 from the city in appropriations. That leaves the county with $101,250 and the city with $134,250.

Since the city has spent $28,000 on in-kind engineering, add half of that, $14,000 to the city and subtract it from the city. The county’s total now stands at $115,250 and the city owes $120,250.

But, the county also spent money, about $2500 on in-kind work. So add half, $1,250 to the city while subtracting it from the county.

Finally, the county will reimburse the city for half of grant administration fees: $21,000. The final estimated cost left for each government to pay is county — $124,500 and city — $111,000. All of this applies only if the DECD grant is not approved.

Several members of both boards said they were confident the proposed grant from the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development will be approved, but all said they thought a &uot;back-up plan&uot; was necessary.

A $2.5 million Department of Transportation grant received last year requires a 20 percent match from local government.

Earlier this year, the county appropriated $85,000 for the match, and the city set aside $55,000.

Even with the budget appropriations, the joint-project lacks an additional $250,000 to meet the MDOT match.

The DECD grant would cover those costs.

Wednesday’s meeting revisited the same discussions brought out in an informal July 12 meeting between the two boards in which a 60-40 split, county and city respectively, was discussed.

At both meetings, Supervisors Darryl Grennell and Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell stood firm on an even division of costs.

&uot;Even though the city residents pay county taxes, they reap the benefits from county services,&uot; Grennell said.

&uot;If we’re talking about unification — synergy — we need to talk 50-50, and I’m not deviating from that,&uot; Grennell said.

Both meetings between the boards were &uot;informal,&uot; meaning no public notice was given, and the agreement does not qualify as a vote.

Aldermen David Massey and Jake Middleton were not present.