City presents schools with $76,683 gas bill

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 18, 2000

Members of the city board visited the school board Thursday night to present a $76,683 bill and ask for payment.

Vicksburg Mayor Robert Walker presented the five school board members with copies of water, sewer and gas bills for Sherman Avenue Elementary and Dana Road Elementary indicating overdue amounts. He was accompanied by North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young and South Ward Alderman Sam Habeeb.

“The reason we are here is to acknowledge that our staff made some errors,” Walker said.

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The mistakes were made in reading the gas meters on the two new schools that opened a year ago. Both are outside the city limits, but the city agreed to extend municipal services to their sites.

When city meter readers recorded the schools’ usage each month, four digits were recorded instead of the five on the new meters. The result added up to $31,607 in underbilling at Dana and $45,077 at Sherman.

“We realize you have a budget that you have already approved,” Walker said. “We want to work with you to determine how to address these.”

Although cash payment was the first suggestion, Walker told school board members that other forms of compensation may be accepted such as in-kind-services.

“We will discuss the issue, and we will probably make some recommendations after we have talked to our people,” school board president Zelmarine Murphy said.

The board was assured that services to the schools would not be disconnected for non-payment.

In other matters the board:

Accepted cash donations of $75.50 from McRae’s, $100 from Vicksburg Bankers Association and $500 from Ameristar Casino.

Approved the purchase of a police radio for the school’s safety coordinator for $4,165.

Adopted a board policy regarding criminal background checks for new school employees. The Legislature passed a bill during the regular session requiring that all public school employees have a criminal background check including fingerprinting and FBI criminal history check. The law went into effect July 1.

Approved requests to Warren County for school bus turnarounds at 125 Hearn Road, 975 Southern Road and 7281 Fisher Ferry Road. The request from the school board must now be approved by the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

Approved a contract with Blackburn Motor Co. to provide the school’s driver’s education cars. The lease is for two mid-size cars at $250 per month and one full-size car at $285 per month. Blackburn Motor Co. submitted the only bid.

Tabled a discussion on the installation of an elevator at Warren Central Junior High School until a cost analysis can be obtained from the bidder.

The next regular meeting of Vicksburg Warren County School Board of Trustees is at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 21.