No locals at Belwood levee?

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NATCHEZ — Adams County Supervisor Ricky Gray said Monday he was disappointed to see no local people hired to haul dirt for the ongoing levee construction.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors in March awarded the low bid of $895,731.50 from Walter’s Construction of Laurel for construction of phase one of the ring levee at the Belwood industrial site at the Natchez-Adams County Port.

By law, supervisors are required to accept the lowest bid unless a compelling reason makes another bid better.

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Gray said at the time he did not have a problem with awarding the contract to Walter’s Construction, but that he hoped the company would hire local residents to help hauling.

County Engineer Jim Marlow said Monday that to date, Walter’s Construction has only utilized its own trucks.

The decision on whether or not to use local subcontractors or laborers is up to the company.

Gray said Monday he would like to see locals selected for some of the work.

“I’m not saying all the work, but I believe (they could be selected) for some of the work,” Gray said. “That’s a lot of money to be going out of your community.”

Construction on the levee began in June.

During this phase, estimates project approximately 3,800 feet of levee would be built. At the highest points of elevation, the levee would be 6-feet high. At the lowest points of this phase the levee would get as high as 10 feet.

Funding is from a $1.2 million Delta Regional Authority grant, with leaders hoping to obtain a second DRA grant to help complete the levee. However, Supervisor President Mike Lazarus announced recently even if the county receives a second round of funding the levee would likely fall at least approximately $2 million short. The levee could be as much as $4 million short.

Lazarus has said he has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Vicksburg Office to hopefully obtain funds to complete the levee.