5th round of bidding is set for Kings Point

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 16, 2004

[3/16/04]A project to provide a new boat and barge for the Kings Point Ferry will go out for bids for a fifth time following a decision Monday by the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

After a session closed to the public with supervisors citing possible litigation, board members emerged and said a contract with a Vicksburg company to build the boat and barge will be canceled.

Since 2002, supervisors have been trying to award a contract for the project. The first time they advertised, they received such a flurry of questions from potential bidders they withdrew the advertisement. The second advertisement resulted in no bids. The third advertisement brought two bids, but both had to be rejected as non-responsive.

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The board opened a fourth set of bids at its Feb. 2 meeting and later awarded the contract to Big River Shipbuilding for $530,000. Before the company began work, it notified the county its cost of steel had risen by $20,000 since the bid was computed. Since receiving that notice, the board sought guidance from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

After the brief closed session, Board Attorney Randy Sherard recommended they rescind the award of the contract to Big River and then reject it.

On motions from District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield and seconded by District 1 Supervisor David McDonald, the board accepted the advice.

The board will likely vote to readvertise the project March 22.

Kings Point is a farming, hunting and timber area north of Vicksburg that was cut off from year-around land access to the rest of Warren County when the Yazoo Diversion Canal was excavated a century ago. Since then, Warren County has had the responsibility of providing a ferry to serve the area.

The Army Corps of Engineers has had under study for about three years a plan that would have the dual benefits of year-around road access to Kings Point plus possibly relieving backwater flooding.

In other business, Warren County Fire Coordinator Kelly Worthy received approval for the next step in purchasing a fire truck for the Northeast volunteers. He said the department had opened bids earlier and on the recommendation of Purchasing Agent Tonga Vinson wanted to award the contract to the low bidder for $152,980. The board’s action will trigger money from a Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Grant.

On the request of L.W. Callaway III, Warren County Emergency Management Office director, the county will apply for a $25,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase equipment that would allow an outside agency to communicate with the E-911 dispatch center and Vicksburg and Warren County agencies. The grant will pay for the equipment, software and training for Warren County personnel who will use it.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace received permission from the board to see if the county is eligible for a grant of about $200,000 from the Justice Department. Proceeds could be used to build a firing range and training building in Warren County.

Pace explained if Warren County is approved for the grant, he will then begin looking for a place to build it.

“If I can’t find a place, we don’t have to accept the money,” he said.

If the county is eligible and if it accepts the grant, there is no local match.

The board also:

Voted to allow Chuck Thornton, buildings and grounds director, to seek proposals for demolishing a building at 911 Farmer St. the county bought last year for expansion of the adjacent Warren County Justice Court facilities.

Granted approval to advertise for bids on improvements to the LeTourneau boat launch ramp. The county received a $115,000 grant through the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for the work.

Approved allowing Maywood Landscaping to do $8,291.60 in subcontracting work on the River Region Health System slide stabilization project.

Approved a four-way stop at Warrior’s Trail, Newman Road and Silver Creek Road.

Commended Warren County Highway Department workers for speedy completion of rebuilding the island side ferry ramp for the Kings Point Ferry.