County approves additional bridge contract

By PAT BROWN,

One of the biggest issues to come before the Simpson County Board of Supervisor at their Monday meeting was the approval of a bid under the emergency bridge repair program approved by the state.

The bridge is located on Rockport New Hebron Road.  The engineer’s cost estimate for the project was $265,942.50.  The winning and lowest bid went to Oddee Smith Construction of Brookhaven at $278,304.84.  The highest bid on the project was Key LLC at $437,528.75. 

The board is negotiating the lease agreement with Howard Industries for the property on Highway 49.  The annual lease amount is $45,000 per year and the lease will be renewed for ten years. 

In order for the lease to have been canceled it would have required 90 day written notice from Howard’s; otherwise, the lease was set to automatically renew for 10 years.  The lease allows for a CPI (Consumer Price Index) increase; however, according to board attorney, Danny Welch, there are different formulas for figuring that costs.  He is now discussing the proper formula with Howard’s representatives. 

The board heard from Dwayne Puckett, who asked the county to reduce the garbage bill on his business on Highway 49 in Magee from $150 per quarter to $35 per quarter.  He said he produces very little garbage, less than a canful, and felt the rates were too high.  The board agreed to offer a  lower fee based on usage.  The board denied reducing his current bill for $300. 

Gregg Gibbes, administrator for Magee General Hospital, introduced himself to the board and told the board of current renovation plans the hospital has.  He said the hospital is renovating the facility’s labor and delivery suite  for a new emergency room for the hospital. 

The board also heard from Wallace Willis, a concerned citizen, over the condition of the Hezekiah Weathersby Road.  He said in places drivers have to go off the road to pass because of the pot holes.  He told the board they are not maintaining that road as they are others in the county  and that it had not been anything other than patched for 20 years while other roads are being maintained.  Road Manager Ben Warren told him because of funding there just wasn’t enough money to fix all the roads in the county.  Warren and Supervisor Brian Kennedy agreed to look at the road to see if anything could be done.

Warren reported to the board that the                road department had recently laid three miles of tar and rocked in the county.   

John Kilpatrick, Emergency Management Coordinator reported the county had been fortunate during the tropical storm/hurricane Barry.  He said they had only received nine calls of trees that had fallen during the storm and minor flooding issues. 

The board approved a request from Keith Cooper for Metro Baptist Church to be added to the tax exempt property listing.  Acting on behalf of the Tax Assessor Jaime Reed told the board the assessor had sent a letter regarding the tax status and it was not returned.  She told Cooper it could be added for future exemptions but not for past tax roles. 

The board approved and accepted the public and private road registry for the county for 2019. 

The next regular scheduled meeting of the board is set for Monday, August 5 and a work session for the annual budget is set for Wednesday August 14.  A board meeting will be held on August 15.