City moves ahead on rerouting water line

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

Vicksburg officials took a step forward Friday on relocating an unstable water main below Washington and Jackson streets, but took a step backward on the redevelopment of the nearby Levee Street Depot at City Front.

On the agenda

Meeting Friday, the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen, in the absence of North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield:

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• OK’d meeting minutes from Feb. 10, 16 and 25.

• Acknowledged employment anniversaries: Rufus White, 35 years, sewer department; Venable Moore, 20 years, city sexton; Sidra Burns, 10 years, accounting department.

• Proclaimed May Building Safety Month.

• Received banking services proposals from Trustmark Bank, Wachovia Bank and BancorpSouth.

• OK’d a request from Revert Community Coalition Center to have a community block party from 1 to 11 p.m. May 29 at Johnson Memorial Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Mission 66.

• Tabled a City Pool rental agreement with the Vicksburg Warren School District.

• OK’d advertising for bids for pebble lime for the water treatment plant.

• OK’d a $575 payment for American Softball Association affiliation dues, and $5,980 to Bolinger A.S.A. for liability insurance.

• OK’d establishing a $300 petty cash fund for swim lesson registration at the City Pool.

• Gave Building and Inspections Director Victor Gray-Lewis approval to proceed with cutting the lawn and removing trash and a dilapidated building at 1208 Locust St. Also OK’d was a 14-day extension for the lawn to be cut and trash and a dilapidated building to be removed at 89 Williams St.

• OK’d a $500 advertisement for the Vicksburg Swim Association.

• OK’d a $5,359.20 payment to the Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport in Mound, La., which the city is one-quarter owner.

• OK’d monthly reports on the Cedar Hill Cemetery, privilege license, mayor and treasure, budget, tax collection and claims docket.

In closed session, the board:

• OK’d a longevity raises in the cemetery and accounting departments.

• OK’d one new hire in the right of way department, and two in the parks and recreation department.

• OK’d one pay adjustment in the inspection department.

• OK’d one transfer in the inspection department.

• Accepted one resignation in the sewer department.

• OK’d one suspension without pay in the police department, pending termination.

• Discussed two personnel matters.

The board is scheduled to meet next at 10 a.m. May 3 in room 109 of the City Hall Annex, 1415 Walnut St.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a contract with engineering firm Allen & Hoshall to get the water main relocation project ready for bid and rejected three bids opened Monday for the renovation of the 103-year-old depot into a transportation museum and office spaces.

“In a nutshell, two bids came in under our estimate, however, they did not follow the bid guidelines — and the one bidder who did follow the guidelines came in too high,” said Mayor Paul Winfield. “For the sake of fairness and openness, we ought to go back and redo it.”

Waycaster & Associates Architects has estimated the depot renovation will cost about $1.6 million. At $1.45 million, Kenneth R. Thompson Jr. Builder Inc. of Greenwood was the low bidder, followed by Flagstar Construction Company of Brandon at $1,593,500 and Fordice Construction Company of Vicksburg at $1.84 million. Fordice was the only company to follow the bid package guidelines correctly, the mayor said.

Redevelopment of the 14,000-square-foot, three-story depot — which the city purchased in 2002 for about $295,000 — is being paid for via a $1.9 million federal stimulus allocation, which requires no local match.

City Attorney Lee Davis Thames Jr. estimated the rebid would delay the groundbreaking on the depot renovation by about a month. The bid package must first be approved by the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which is administering the federal funds and taking up the issue on Tuesday, said Thames. Once MDOT approves the re-bid, the city will have to advertise the bid package for two weeks and then wait 15 business days before opening any received bids.

“It will back us up about a month, but we’ll still be in the timeline for the grant,” Thames said.

A June target date had been set for the groundbreaking of the depot renovation, which is estimated to take about 15 months to complete.

Meanwhile, Public Works Director Bubba Rainer said a relocation route has been identified for the 36-inch water main thrown into jeopardy following a March 26 land shift near the developing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers interpretive center and museum. The Corps has agreed to pay for the relocation of the water main, which has been temporarily stabilized, but left the planning to the city.

The pipe will be routed west around Washington Street one block via Main, Walnut and Jackson streets, said Rainer. It is a vital link from the city’s water treatment plant on Haining Road to it’s roughly 10,000 metered customers.

According to the contract approved Friday, Allen & Hoshall will be paid about $74,000 to provide preliminary planning services and design work on the relocation, as well as obtain a geotechnical investigation and oversee the bid process.

“We’re 90 percent of the way there now,” said Rainer. “The Corps’ and the city’s attorneys are working to formulate a memorandum of understanding and a contract so we can initialize the quoting process and put a contractor to work.”

Rainer estimated the pipe will be re-routed in about 30 working days once the project begins. The city declared an emergency shortly after the land shift, which will allow officials to obtain quotes on the work instead of publicly advertising for bids.

“Everybody has been monitoring the pipe since the land shift, making sure what we’ve secured will stay secure,” said Rainer.

Contact Steve Sanoski at