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City hires engineer for connector

Published 12:01 am Monday, May 26, 2014

Jackson engineering firm Neel-Schaffer has been hired by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to handle the design for the proposed connector road from North Frontage to Wisconsin Avenue.
The board voted 3-0 to approve the agreement with the company for the work. City officials estimate construction could begin on the road by next summer.
The Mississippi Development Authority earlier this month approved a $1.31 million, 20-year low interest loan for the project, which will cross the former Battlefield Mall property between North Frontage and Wisconsin.
The former mall property, which is partially occupied by Blackburn Motors and Riverfront Bank, is owned by JEBCO LLC, the parent company for Blackburn Motors.
According to preliminary plans, the road will cross the property between the bank and the 3-acre old Vicksburg Cycle site to the west, which was bought in October by Bossier City, La.-based 3 Rednecks LLC, the lead ownership interest in Excel Honda, to relocate the dealership.
The road project is in anticipation of a possible move by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center to move the front of its facility from Halls Ferry Road to Wisconsin to reduce traffic on Halls Ferry Road.
The new road would also open new property for development.
A decision by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission in November rezoning the property from C-4 commercial to planned use development, opened the way for the road.
A planned use development, or PUD, designation allows light industrial operations, clearing the way for the city to apply for the MDA loan.
In another matter, the board approved a 10-year, $388,849.12 ad valorem tax exemption on personal property for Cooper Lighting Co. Personal property refers to items not tied to the land, such as a business’ inventory.
The Warren County Board of Supervisors approved a similar exemption for Cooper Thursday. The exemption does not affect state and school taxes.
A new vertical milling apparatus worth $207,123.22 made up the bulk of Cooper’s purchases, along with 25 Dell desktop computers, worth $13,806.50, according to the application.

On the agenda
Meeting Friday, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen:
• Adopted the minutes for the May 5 board meeting.
• Recognized the following employees on their anniversaries with the city: Charles Atkins, Charles Cogan and Samuel Smith, fire department, 30 years; Bert Day, traffic, and Timothy Love, fire department, 20 years; Willie Holt, fire department, 15 years; Windell Wilson, gas, and Henry Sanders, right of way, 10 years; Carolyn Butler, human resources, five years.
• Recognized the following employees who are either current or former military: Johnnie Edwards, Milton Moore, Randy Blake, Mike Bryant, Alberta Wheeler, Shirley Lundstrum, Joseph Shows, Ricky Davis, Walter Harris, David Johnson, Morris Minor, Sandra Johnson Williams, Leonce Young, police department; Willie Jackson, gas; Randy Brown, city garage; Kim McBeath and Ken Sharp, community development; Dorothy Bowman, Anthony Clark, John Donald Harmouth, Vincent McRaven, Howard Stephen Williams, David Allen Pugh, Kevin Shane Quimby and Houghton Conley, fire department; Sammy Rainey, building maintenance; and Bobby Robinson, legal.
• Awarded the following bids: concrete, MMC Materials Inc. of Vicksburg and Vicksburg Ready Mix; vehicle accessories for police cars, Barney’s Police Supplies of Lafayette, La., Roper Supply of Picayune, and Fleet Safety Equipment Inc. of Pell City, Ala.; water treatment chemicals, Harcross Chemicals Inc. of Vicksburg.
• Amended an agreement with Earthlink Business to provide telephone service for outside lines for three years.
Information technology technician Bill Ford said Hattiesburg-based GulfPines Communications, which currently has the city’s phone service contract, will no longer be doing phone business in Mississippi. Earthlink currently provides the city’s Internet service.
• Approved a request from TRIAD for complimentary use of the Vicksburg Auditorium for a senior crime prevention fair.
• Authorized Community Development Director Victor Gray-Lewis to clean and clear lots at 2329 Grove St., 531 Hugo St. and 320 Wells Road. The board approved a 90-day extension to Susan Stokes to remove dilapidated buildings at 330 Wells Road.
• Approved a request from Central Mississippi Prevention Services for $12,000 in matching funds for the 2014 Summer Leadership Camp.
• Approved statements from Trustmark and BancorpSouth.
• Approved the following reports: city sexton, privilege license, mayor and treasurer, tax collection, delinquent tax collection and detailed budget.
• Approved paying the claims docket.