Flaggs questions cost of pavilions

Published 6:55 pm Saturday, August 18, 2018

When city officials plan to build a pavilion at a park or any place else in the city, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. wants them to make sure they get it done at the lowest possible cost.

And he wants the cost of the structure to be uniform each time a pavilion is erected.

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“We need to find out what we’re doing, because we need to at least be consistent,” he said at a Thursday budget hearing. “Every park I’ve ever gone, all the pavilions look the same. If we’re going through engineering to build pavilions and open contracts out, there’s something wrong.”

Flaggs’ comments came after recreation director Joe Graves said he was including $20,000 in his budget for a 20-foot by 40-foot pavilion to be built for the east, west and south softball fields at Halls Ferry Park. “It could come in less; this is just a slab and a pavilion,” he told the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Flaggs said the city has built pavilions at Fuzzy Johnson Park and the new Kings Park off Waltersville Street that ranged from about $50,000 to more than $100,0000. He was told the cost of the pavilion at Fuzzy Johnson includes rest rooms, and the pavilion at Kings is “top of the line.”

“That even further disturbs me,” he said after hearing about Kings. “You’re talking about a 100-and-something thousand dollar pavilion versus a $20,000 pavilion. What are we doing in the city? Somebody’s got to explain that to me. We’re not building a kingdom in heaven.

“To me, it looks like we should be building the same everywhere. That’s what they’re doing at hotels, everywhere; that’s how they build them cheap. My problem is you build a pavilion in the city of Vicksburg by city employees for $20,000, (and) we build another someplace else for $54,000,” he said.

“We ought to get together before we let a contract. It doesn’t make sense to me to build a Cadillac in one part of the city and a Volkswagen in the other part of the city. We need to come up with one design for a pavilion that is the least cost to the taxpayer, and have one design for wherever we’re going to build.”

In other action:

• Graves said he was moving $300,000 from his fiscal 2018 budget into 2019 to cover completion of the pro shop at the Halls Ferry tennis courts. The $300,000 is part of $750,000 in capital improvements bond money allocated for the building.

• Fire Chief Craig Danczyk requested a second ladder truck for the fire department similar to Ladder 3 at the department’s Independence 3 station on Berryman Road off East Clay Street. The truck, known as a “quint,” is a combination ladder truck and pumper, with a 78-foot ladder, 500-gallon tank and a pump capable of pumping 2,000 gallons a minute.

The cost of the new truck was estimated at $800,000, Danczyk said, which is more than what the city paid for Ladder 3. Part of the reason, he said, is because manufacturers are having to make adjustments in the wake of new tariffs on steel and aluminum used to build the trucks.

• Danczyk also asked for one new ambulance and to re-truck, or upgrade, an existing ambulance.

Re-trucking an ambulance has a longer life by installing a new chassis for the vehicle.

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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