Supervisors to spend $600,000 on roads this fall

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2000

At least 18 county roads will reap the benefits of taxes on casinos and gambling this fall as Warren County supervisors prepare to advertise their year 2000 resurfacing project.

With nearly $600,000 set aside for the work, county engineer John McKee has presented a list of proposed road projects. Officials are hoping to use the funds on as many roads as possible before the construction season ends.

“We want to try to get as many done this fall as we can and not hold them over until next spring,” said county administrator Rick Polk.

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Supervisors expected to authorize McKee to begin advertising for bids on the projects at today’s board meeting.

Casinos opened in Vicksburg starting in 1993 and now generate about $185,000 per month for the county, Polk said. The local program is separate from a state set-aside through which $100 million is preserved from gambling taxes for work on heavily traveled highways near casinos.

Here, the county engineer maintains a list of roads in need of work listed in order from the worst to the best. Roadways are assigned a rating based on the overall condition of the pavement. A lower rating number indicates a greater need for repair.

Most of the roads on the proposed project were taken straight off the top of the road list. The top road on the list with the most priority is Glass Road, which rates a 26 on the condition list. In comparison, Jeff Davis Road rates a 62, indicating the road is in good working condition.

While Glass Road and others on the proposed list have low condition ratings, others such as Canterbury Hills Road rank closer to the middle of the county’s priority list with a rating of 49.

Roads such as Canterbury Hills Road and Robert E. Lee Boulevard, rating 46, are included in this fall’s proposal not because of a great need for repaving, but in an effort to save money by being more efficient, said District 5 Supervisor Richard George, who is also board president.

“It will be far more efficient and more economical,” George said.

The idea is to resurface more than one road at a time in neighborhoods where a single artery may require immediate attention. Although Canterbury Hills Road ranks 41 on the county’s priority list, it intersects with Robinhood Road, a road with a condition rating of 37, giving it the seventh highest priority in the county.

“If you don’t do them now, then you’ll have to do it in a year or two,” McKee said.

The plan is to package several roads in one area to be resurfaced at one time. Instead of having 18 separate projects spread throughout the county, the contractor will do two or three roads in one subdivision and save the cost of mobilizing two more locations, McKee said.

The other goal of advertising for 18 roads at one time is to attract more bidders and possibly some lower bids.

“Given how busy the contractor is or isn’t, the bids may not be as much as we have estimated,” George said.

If the work can be done for less than the estimated amounts, supervisors are hoping to add three roads to the list. Magnolia Circle, Summer Hill Drive and Wedgewood Circle are possible additions if funds are available, George said.

Locally, Vicksburg, Warren County and the Vicksburg Warren School District share a 3.2 percent tax on money patrons lose at casinos. The ratio is 65-25-10, respectively. Warren County also splits with the city, based on population, a state-set .8 percent tax on lost wagers and all three entities tax casino developments, including hotels, at commercial property tax rates.