The courthouse in Ellisville

Bid out

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One bridge bid accepted, one rejected; courthouse re-roofing just under $50,000

Two bids were accepted and two were rejected by the Board of Supervisors for projects that engineers have been laying the groundwork for over the last few months.

Eddie Pearson Roofing out of Hattiesburg had the low bid of $49,800 to re-roof the Jones County courthouse in Ellisville. The only other bid was $63,000, submitted by Meridian-based Norman Roofing. The Hattiesburg company also submitted a bid of $8.50 and $7 per board foot to replace rotten decking and trusses, respectively, while the Meridian company’s bids were $20 and $50 for the same work.

The new roof is a major part of the restoration of the historic building in Ellisville, which voters decided should be maintained and restored instead of shifting duplicate county offices and services to Laurel.

Four local companies bid competitively to build a new bridge on Sandersville-Pleasant Grove Road. R&J Construction had the low bid of $308,788.93, just nudging out Bush Construction ($317,014.50), Walters Construction ($320,575.57) and Tanner Construction ($338,649.30). The estimate of County Engineer Ronnie Clark was $226,905.

A bridge project on Ellisville-Tuckers Crossing Road was also bid on by two local companies. Walters bid $484,270.05 and Tanner bid $522,675.72. The engineer’s estimate was $359,058.

Supervisor Barry Saul made a motion to “reject all bids due to cost overrun and readvertise for bids” on the Ellisville project and supervisors agreed unanimously to do that. Supervisor Danny Roy Spradley was not in the meeting, but the board excused him from being there.

The bid that was accepted on the Sandersville-Pleasant Grove bridge was 36 percent over the engineer’s estimate. The low bid on the project that was rejected for cost overruns was 35 percent over the engineer’s estimate.

The board also set a work session for Wednesday morning (Feb. 7) to discuss how to deal with a federal order to shut down almost two dozen local bridges. The session had been set for last month but was postponed because of winter weather.

Sheriff Alex Hodge was “pretty close” to making his lowered budget, Chief Financial Officer Charles Miller reported. Hodge’s budget is supposed to gradually decrease each quarter this fiscal year, but it came in at $1.568 million, when $1.503 million was budgeted. “As each quarter goes by, it’s going to be tougher,” Miller said. The sheriff’s budget goes down to $1.382 million next quarter, Miller said.

Supervisors also heard a pitch from Allie Harris of Schneider Electric about how to save money on utility bills in county buildings. Harris said that she and Chief Administrative Officer Danielle Ashley and Miller have been in talks for more than a year.

“We work with a lot of counties … and you have a ton of facilities here,” she told supervisors.

The cost to power those buildings ranges from $600,000 to $650,000 per year, she said.

“We want to do a study to see how much we can save you,” Harris said. “We can typically help save enough to help pay for an HVAC unit or some other big purchase.

The City of Laurel is one of Schneider Electric’s 700 clients, Harris said, adding that it is free to do a study of the buildings and to present a plan.

“We procure all of the subcontractors, and we use all local, when possible,” she said, noting that Howard Industries lights were used as part of the city’s energy cost-cutting plan.

Saul said he was working with Miller to find enough money in his budget to finish a road project on Bogue Homa Swamp Road and to pave one road in a new subdivision off Reid Road.

The board also agreed to sign an order that Jones County EOC director Marda Tullos presented from the governor proclaiming that the county was in a state of emergency during January’s winter storm.

In other matters, the board unanimously agreed to:

• Accept the low bid of Trustmark bank (3.04 percent) to finance the lease-purchase of a $107,574 backhoe in Beat 4;

• Advertise for bids for two new garbage trucks;

• Re-appoint Frieda Collins and Jeannine Agee to the Jones County Junior College board after the terms expired on Feb. 1;

• Authorize payment for the emergency repair of a bridge on Bush Dairy Road that was damaged by an automobile crash;

• Approve utility permits for Bay Springs Telephone to do work along Loftin Road, Trail End Circle, Fox Hollow Drive and Kayman Drive;

• Give $500 to each county school’s Future Farmers of America club as they prepare for the livestock show at the Dixie National rodeo;

• Give $1,500 to the NE Jones Middle and High School bands.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the courthouse in Laurel. Monday is President’s Day.