City considering moving bond funds for new fire station

Published 10:06 pm Friday, August 12, 2016

City officials could soon be shifting capital improvements bond issue funds as they look for a way to pay for construction of the city’s proposed new fire station in east Vicksburg.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen received two bids Wednesday to build the fire station, both over the $1.1 million budget for the project. Paul Jackson and Sons of Brookhaven bid $1.6 million to build the station, while Fordice Construction of Vicksburg bid $1.518 million. Both bids were base bids on the project.

A total of $1.6 million was set aside for the new fire station, but $400,000 of it was used to purchase the building’s site at the intersection of Berryman Road and Maxwell Drive and additional money was spent on surveys and soil testing at the property.

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“We’re going forward,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said, adding the city may push back plans to build a pavilion for the Vicksburg Farmers Market, which is one of his pet projects. The board set aside $550,000 for the pavilion in the budget from the $9.2 million capital improvements bond issue.

“The farmers market may be delayed for the fire station, but it’s imperative we move forward with the fire station,” Flaggs said. “It’s just a matter of prioritizing.”

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said he wanted to talk to Fire Chief Charles Atkins to get his opinion on the station.

“It (the bids) wasn’t that much over (budget),” he said. “I was surprised it wasn’t more. We’ll look at it and come back and make adjustments. We may be able to reduce the price, we may not; it depends on what you need. This is not a ‘want thing’ here. The state regulates a lot of that.”

South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson wants to review the alternatives that were bid as supplements to the design plans if everything came in below budget.

An artist’s rendering of the 5,110-square-foot fire station called “Vicksburg Fire Department Station 3,” shows a brick building with a metal roof and three bays for vehicles that will open on Berryman Road. According to the bid specifications and architect’s floor plans, the third bay is optional if the project bids are under budget. The extra bay would add an additional 1,360 square feet to the station.

“You have to look at the whole scope,” Thompson said. “We were kind of prepared (for the bid amounts). We’ll probably move some money to complete it if we go with the base bid or remove the alternates and put it out for bid again. It’s not out of the budget. We just need to see about those alternates.”

“It’s a much needed project. It’s been talked about for a long time. We need to maintain our fire rating by improving the coverage area, so it’s something we need to do. It just depends on what’s going to be included and not included when we come back to the table with it.”

City officials have discussed building a new station in east Vicksburg for several years to have better and quicker access to accidents on Interstate 20, the multi-story hotels in the Clay Street area and Merit Health River Region Medical Center, which falls under the fire department’s responsibility.

City officials in April signed the final papers to purchase the 2.2-acre tract at the corner of Maxwell Drive and Berryman Road off East Clay Street from Waring Investments for $400,000.










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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