County exploring jail options; Architect updates supervisors on project

Published 12:18 am Friday, January 2, 2015

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors is exploring its options after no one apparently wants to take on the task of fixing the county jail’s masonry.

Yellow caution tape and sawhorses have marked off the sidewalk around the Adams County Sheriff’s Office for some time to protect pedestrians from the possibility of falling bricks.

While the walls of the building itself are sound, the mortar around some of the bricks — which serve as facing for the building — has softened with age and needs to be replaced.

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If the facing on the building is gone, it could expose the walls to damage from moisture.

The board opened the project for bids in October, but no bids came. After a month-long delay, no bidders were forthcoming.

“On that second morning, we had three bidders tell us they would turn in bids, and between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. — when bids were to be opened — reasons came up why they weren’t interested in the bid,” Architect Johnny Waycaster told the supervisors this week.

“The local masons aren’t licensed through the state to do this much work.”

Waycaster advised the board to declare the situation an emergency so further bid proceedings wouldn’t be necessary.

“It would give us an opportunity to sit down with one particular masonry company and get a negotiated bid,” he said.

Board Attorney Scott Slover said declaring an emergency might not be necessary.

“Since we have submitted for bids twice and gotten none, we may be able to check with the state auditor and find another process,” he said.

Waycaster also updated the board about the jail’s roof repair project, which has been characterized as a key component of preserving the building’s integrity.

The bid was awarded in October to Tru Solutions of Nashville for $101,205, approximately $60,000 less than the next lowest bidder.

When looking for roof manufacturers, the bid packet for the project had specified Firestone, Soprema and Johns-Manville as preferred manufacturers.

“They gave us information to lead us to believe they were fully certified with Firestone and ready to go to work,” Waycaster said. “But while they are certified with the state, they weren’t certified with (Firestone).”

After the issue was discovered, however, the company was able to submit a Soprema product for approval, Waycaster said, and all of the references from the company came back positive.

“It hasn’t been a clean process and we know they have missed us, but they are now completely in compliance with our project manual,” Waycaster said.

“I have talked at length with the Soprema representatives, and I am leery because (Tru Solutions) is coming out of Nashville to do a small roof. I stand behind Soprema, not behind these guys.”

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said he wasn’t happy to hear the board had been misled.

“If it wasn’t so much savings, I would tell you to can them in a second, because I don’t like people who lie,” he said.

The roof will come with a 20-year warranty, Waycaster said.