County: Local workers preferred for levee construction

Published 12:21 am Monday, March 13, 2017


NATCHEZ — Before voting to award the first phase construction contract for the Belwood levee to a Laurel company, three supervisors expressed concerns about awarding a contract to an out-of-town firm.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors unanimously accepted last week an $895,731.50 bid from Walter’s Construction of Laurel for construction of phase one of the ring levee at the former Belwood County Club industrial site.

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District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray said he hopes Walters will utilize some local residents in the hauling work to come.

“You have got a lot of people around here in Adams County that have trucks and were waiting on this levee bid to come through,” Gray said. “It would be a shame if we got all these people sitting around here with all these trucks that can move dirt and then they bring trucks in from somewhere else, and they get all the work and the people around here don’t get no work.”

District 2 and District 3 supervisors David Carter and Angela Hutchins both said they agreed with Gray’s statement.

“Whenever we have the opportunity to use local, to buy local or to support local, we always need to try to do that the best we can,” Carter said.

County Engineer Jim Marlow said Walter Construction would decide whether to use local subcontractors or laborers.

Board Attorney Scott Slover said the board has to rely on who came in with the lowest and best bid, which was Walter Construction. Slover said per state law, the county has to have a good reason for not selecting the cheapest price.

The next lowest bid was local in Camo Construction of Vidalia, which put in a bid of $988,476.

Board President Mike Lazarus said the difference in bids represents a substantial amount of money.

“That company is way lower than everyone else,” Lazarus said. “What it amounts to is we get to build more levee.”