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Supervisors to rescind vote on concrete roadwork

NATCHEZ — Members of the Adams County Board of Supervisors said they plan to rescind an action from their last meeting at the suggestion of the state auditor.

The board voted Jan. 4 to award a bid of $32,000 to Mannie Stewart, an individual, for the labor cost of patching concrete roads with concrete slabs on 220 damaged areas on Kingston, Martin Luther King Jr., Liberty and Morgantown roads.

The two other bids for the concrete repairs were $845,125 from Dozer Contractors and $287,944 from Dunn’s Construction.

Stewart appeared at the board’s Jan. 4 meeting to answer questions about his bid.

But since Stewart said he had no liability insurance, the board amended the motion to accept Stewart’s bid pending he acquire liability insurance for the project.

District 1 Supervisor Mike Lazarus said after the meeting he asked Adams County Purchasing Clerk Frances Bell to check with the state auditor on the issue. He said he wanted to make sure the bids were collected and awarded legally.

Bell said a representative from the Mississippi State Auditor’s office told her some of the bids were labeled wrongly, so the process must be repeated.

Two of the bids, including Stewart’s were not properly labeled “not to exceed $50,000,” Bell said.

A representative from Dozier Contractors that also bid on the project reportedly complained to Lazarus he was unhappy with the manner in which the bid was awarded to Stewart.

Lazarus said he can see why contractors would be upset that Stewart was invited to appear in front of the board before he was awarded the bid while other contractors were not invited to do so.

Bell said she will receive another round of quotes from the vendors rather than bids since one or more of the bids came in at under $50,000, the threshold to require bids.

“We’re just trying to do everything right and legal,” Lazarus said.

Lazarus said he also has concerns about the project’s cost.

He said using the specs from the county engineer, the project will cost near $500,000 for labor and materials.

The estimated cost of the concrete alone is $440,000 at $87 per square yard, according to the engineer.

“I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that,” Lazarus said.

Board President Darryl Grennell also said he project cost surprised him.

“I was really shocked it was going to cost that much,” Grennell said.

Lazarus said he might open a discussion at Tuesday’s meeting about the possibility of delaying the project until next year because the cost is not included in this year’s budget.

“I know the roads need fixing, but it is really important to me to get our bond rating up,” Lazarus said.

Lazarus said some of the other supervisors are eager to get the project started quickly, but he is uncertain if it will be in the county’s best interest to spend the required money.

Grennell also said he is not sure if the county can afford the project.

“We’ve got to look at the budget and see if (the county) is going to have enough money to underwrite (the project),” Grennell said.

Lazarus said if Stewart offers a quote on the project again, he will need insurance and a license as part of the requirements.

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