Disagreements over leases dominate WCSB meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

WOODVILLE &045; Oil, gas and mineral leases topped the action at Wednesday’s regular meeting of the Wilkinson County School Board.


issue were two parcels of school land, Section 27, T4N-R1E west of Crosby and Section 26, T1N-R2W south of Woodville.

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Due to some concerns over the time frames for the publication of legal advertisements for bids on the leases, the board previously voted to re-advertise for lease bids on both sections.

Wilcox Energy Co. of Natchez, which had originally submitted a bid for 120 acres of the Section 27 property, narrowed its current bid to only 40 acres of the section. Wilcox submitted the lone bid for the lease. Board attorney Alonzo H. Sturgeon initially objected to the new bid from Wilcox. &uot;They acted in bad faith when they came in here saying they were going to bid just like they did before, and it did not turn out that way,&uot; Sturgeon said.

However, Wilcox representative Mike Hopkins noted that although the company did reduce its bid to 40 acres, its money offer was still the same.

&uot;We agreed to bid the same amount that we bid for the 120 acres,&uot; said Hopkins, adding that Wilcox wanted to pool 30 acres of school land with 10 acres of adjoining private land to provide spacing for the lease. After some discussion between Sturgeon and Hopkins regarding specifics of the bid package, the board voted unanimously to accept the Wilcox bid.

Sturgeon still advised the board not to lease such small tracts of land in the future.

&uot;From now on, I would suggest that we don’t lease anything less than 120 acres,&uot; he said.

Another Natchez-based company, Radzewicz Exploration and Drilling Corp., had been awarded the lease on Section 26.

Radzewicz filed a petition in Chancery Court asking for verification of the initial publication date of the board’s legal advertisement.

Radzewicz contends that the board’s advertisement was actually published in the official county journal, The Woodville Republican, for 21 days in accordance with the law.

The board agreed unanimously to

join in the petition with Radzewicz and sign a waiver to resolve the matter and approve the lease.

Sturgeon suggested that the board publish its advertisements for four weeks in the future to avoid any discrepancies.