City approves spending $550K after Winfield breaks tie vote

Published 11:45 am Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Three bills totaling more than $550,000 that were not approved during a meeting last week won OKs to be paid Monday in a special meeting of the City of Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The bills were part of the city’s claims docket last week.

Mayor Paul Winfield called the special session to unstop the logjam that happened when the other two board members, North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield and South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman, met Wednesday and delayed passing the bills.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

They included a $2,400 payment to the administrator of the city’s reading grant and two payments to Siemens totaling $577,308.44 for energy efficiency upgrades, failed to get the necessary two votes for payment Wednesday.

Winfield, who had hip surgery in Jackson Nov. 19, did not attend the Wednesday meeting, and Beauman and Mayfield split their votes on each item, with Beauman opposing all three.

Beauman opposed the city’s contract with grant administrator Stefanie Ashford of Starkville because only $6,000 of the $40,000 Cities of Service Third Grade Reads Grant will go toward materials and tutors for the program. Ashford will receive $34,000 of the grant for salary and expenses.

About eight weeks ago, he opposed the application for the grant because he and Mayfield had not been apprised of it before it was placed on the agenda. He walked out of that meeting, on Sept. 25, he said later, because Winfield failed to share information about the grant in sufficient time for the aldermen to review it, violating board policy.

Beauman also has questioned the city’s December 2011 $7.6 million contract with Siemens to upgrade light fixtures, thermostats and plumbing fixtures in 44 of the city’s 50 buildings and to replace the city’s water and gas meters. The contract is broken into two projects, $2.1 million for the building upgrades and $5.5 million for the meter replacements.

The Siemens bills for the upgrades were for $172,662.50 and $404,645.94.

“I just didn’t think we needed to do what we’re doing,” Beauman said. “That’s a lot of money. I don’t think we can afford it, personally.”