County to add two roads for paving|[4/08/06]

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 10, 2006

Sections of two roads will be added to the list of county thoroughfares to be resurfaced in the next two years, thanks to an extra $82,000 in the contract.

An 1,100-foot section of Freetown Road from Tucker Road to the end of pavement and a 350-foot connecting road between Mississippi 27 and Old Highway 27 can be added to that list and will be recommended for paving as part of the addition at supervisors’ next regular meeting on April 17.

In a rare Friday informal meeting, supervisors heard from county engineer John McKee on the status of the resurfacing contract and the gravel surfacing contract.

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An overrun of $24,000 has occurred on the gravel surfacing contract with Riverside Construction, McKee said during the meeting.

A $1.2 million contract with Central Asphalt Co. of Vicksburg was reached in April 2005 on spring resurfacing. Twenty-one roads countywide were on that list, with about half of that completed.

Another contract, for $164,423.50, was entered into with Riverside Construction Co. of Vicksburg for the gravel surfacing.

After the meeting, Brian Robbins of ABMB Engineers, Inc., the county engineering firm, said the extra financial room for resurfacing county roads comes at good time in the materials market.

&#8220With the price of asphalt still high, we need to get those done,” Robbins said.

Both contracts have damage clauses for not fulfilling time requirements on each during the late autumn, with the board set to take up each companies’ reasons for the delays April 17.

Both are said to have experienced delays due to the seasonal closing of asphalt supplier APAC-Mississippi, Inc. in December, plus additional asphalt shortages related to Hurricane Katrina during the autumn and winter.

One road that McKee and supervisors said would be added to next year’s gravel surfacing contract is Dusty Road, a half-mile stretch of unpaved road between Berryman Road and Redhawk Road just inside county maintenance.

A third, smaller section of road near the county maintenance barn on U.S. 61 North will also be added to the resurfacing list.

In other business Friday, the board agreed to come up with a final list of five candidates for the joint appointment to the VCVB by Friday.

In two days of discussions, supervisors have mulled a list of six candidates supplied by the Vicksburg-Warren Community Alliance.

Again, the board agreed that the appointee should have ample experience in the tourism or marketing industry but could not agree on whether their choice should come from a particular sector of either.

District 2 Supervisor William Banks pondered the overall independence in the future of the 11-member tourism board because the bulk of the marketing strategy will be developed by Compass Facility Management.

&#8220It’s already stacked that way,” Banks said.

All five supervisors also discussed for the first time the natural gas pipeline proposed for southeastern Warren County.

Duke Energy Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, is proposing a 270-mile, 36-inch interstate natural gas pipeline extending from north Louisiana, through Warren County, to Mobile, Ala. The pipeline would join 12 to 15 pipelines that run through various parts of the county.

In return, the company will ask for a break on one-third of ad valorem taxes for 10 years, instead kicking in $125,000 to the county and the school district during that time. Those figures are not based on actual assessments on the property, however.

Supervisors David McDonald and Charles Selmon, not part of initial discussions Thursday, only spoke of the financial differences between the &#8220fee-in-lieu” and other tax incentives typically given out by local governments.

Both said it was &#8220a better deal” than TIFs.

District 4 Supervisor Carl Flanders, in whose district much of the pipeline would run, has said he does not oppose the project in principle but is not inclined to give a large tax break to help achieve it.