City ramps up drive to sell old metal

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It’s all for sale to the highest bidder: pipes, valves, fittings, street signs and other assorted items of brass, steel, aluminum and stainless steel owned by the City of Vicksburg.
The city is getting rid of its surplus of scrap metal that’s been sitting in storage areas at the city’s Water Treatment Plant on Haining Road, the vehicle maintenance shop on China Street and the Street Department on Army Navy Drive. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday authorized City Clerk Walter Armstrong to advertise for bids for the unwanted metal.
“We’re hoping to sell it all for the highest price possible,” city purchasing agent Ann Grimshel said, adding the scrap will be weighed at the storage sites when the winning bidder picks it up to determine the total price.
The scrap inventory going out for bid does not include the remaining parts and equipment from the steamboat Sprague. The board discussed selling the boat’s salvaged parts for scrap, but is considering a way to display the items for tourism purposes. Some pieces, like the boiler and engine parts, require special heavy equipment to lift and move.
Pictures accompanying the bid specifications give potential bidders an idea of the inventory, showing piles scrap parts and lines of pipe at the water department, surplus signs at the street department and vehicle parts.
“We’ve got old car parts — tie rods, rotors, anything metal, we pulled off and put in our pile,” said Barry Warnock, vehicle maintenance director.
One of the pictures with the bid specs shows an old V-8 engine block.
“That’s an old diesel engine,” Warnock said. “It came out of a ’94 truck, and it cost too much to repair. They ended up replacing the truck.”
The truck bed, he said, was damaged in an accident, adding it was cheaper to replace it with a used truck bed than to repair it.
The items stored at the street department involve parts from equipment that were replaced, and street signs and the poles that supported them.
“Those are signs that were damaged or were old and replaced,” Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said. “The poles were damaged when people either ran into them or ran over them.”
Van Norman said other scrap up for bid includes fittings and valves from old water wells that were closed, valves and fittings that were replaced on water lines, and meter boxes that were replaced last year when the city replaced them with new digital meters to more accurately read water use.
“It’s just a lot of old metal equipment and pipes that can’t be used and we don’t need it,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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