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After three tries, county gets 2 bids for Kings Point Ferry

[1/21/04]After three previous attempts, Warren County officials opened what appeared to be two valid bids Tuesday to supply a new boat and barge for the Kings Point Ferry.

The offers from a Vicksburg firm and Newellton firm were taken under advisement by the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

Kings Point is a large timber, farming and hunting area on the Mississippi River that was cut off from year-around road access when the Yazoo Canal was dug just over a century ago. The county has provided ferry access since.

The Corps of Engineers has under study a project that might eliminate the need for the ferry, but any action is years away. The ferry replacement will be funded, in part, by federal funds.

The county has been trying for the past couple of years to get a new, 35-foot push boat and a 65-foot barge to make the crossing, when needed by farmers and others. Land on the island is privately owned.

When first seeking offers, potential builders had many questions. Then, the board postponed bidding until September but received no bids.

In December, the board received two bids, from Big River Shipbuilders Inc. of Vicksburg and Tensas Machine and Manufacturing of Newellton, but rejected both as improperly submitted.

On Tuesday, the same firms made offers that were deemed legal after being checked by County Engineer John McKee and a representative of the State Aid Division of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Big River was the low bidder, at $533,000. Tensas bid $571,798. The board may announce a decision Feb. 2.

Another topic Tuesday was an Internet presence for county government.

“We have talked briefly about trying to develop a Web site for Warren County,” said Charles Selmon, District 3 supervisor who was elected board president this month.

“I have gotten a proposal from an individual who asked to meet with us,” said District 1 Supervisor David McDonald.

“I think it is a good idea because it’s a cost-effective way to communicate with the people,” said Carl Flanders, newly elected supervisor for District 4.

Selmon then accepted McDonald and Flanders to pursue the matter.

After the meeting, Flanders said a Web site could be the beginning of an information department for the county. He said the county now pays two consultants for similar work, and that work could eventually be done inhouse.

The City of Vicksburg, District Attorney Gil Martin, the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and many other local government entities have Web sites.

In other actions, the board:

Approved a change order in the renovation project for the Old Court House Museum-Eva W. Davis Memorial. The change, which adds $28,223 to the $600,000 project, is to repair conduit and electrical connections, repair the roof and the ceiling of the clock tower.

Chuck Thornton, head of building and grounds, said part of the cost of the change order will be offset by an $11,000 overage for asbestos removal.

Approved a payment of $9,889.50 to APAC Mississippi for work on a sewer project at the Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex, one for $5,200 to Jimmy Gouras and Associates for the same project and for $375 to Board Attorney Randy Sherard for work on the Anderson-Tully Co. road project.

Approved a motion from District 5 Supervisor Richard George to seek local and private legislation to allow the county to provide aid to the United Way of West Central Mississippi in setting up a functional information and referral service.

Approved a request from Sheriff Martin Pace to explore the possibility of contracting with a private firm for food service at the Warren County Jail.

Approved contracts for a year on asphalt products, concrete products, creosote timbers, grader blades, rip-rap and limestone products, road signs, street signs, sign posts, clay gravel and washed gravel on the recommendation of the Purchasing Department.

Extended contracts for waste tire disposal, lawn care and grass mowing, herbicide applications and uniforms for the Highway Department.

Granted authority to advertise for bids on mosquito-control products.

Approved the purchase of radios for motor graders from Communications Specialists Inc. of Vicksburg for $6,888 on state contract.

Denied a request from the Vicksburg Warren School District for a school bus turnaround at 107 Quinola Lane because the proposed location does not allow the bus to be completely out of the road.

Approved operation of the Kings Point Ferry from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week from Feb. 1 until April 4.

Approved purchase of two low-band radios for local conservation officers because new radios adopted by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks do not allow the officers to communicate with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and the E-911 Dispatch office.

Heard a request from Karen Grimmer, a resident of Dunigan Road, to consider the possibility of paving the District 2 road.

Heard a request from Charles Stevens, owner of property on Belle Isle Drive at Eagle Lake, about seeking help from the local delegation to the Legislature for a law to allow the county to do work on the privately owned road.

Made the appointments to the Warren County Parks and Recreation Commission: Jimmy Harrison, District 5; Charles “Bubba” Hanks, District 1; Otis Williams, District 2; Jennifer Van Norman, District 4, and Elijah Johnson, District 3.