Current supervisors take exception to engineering service complaint

Published 5:01 pm Monday, November 4, 2019

The project at question is a proposed roadway to an industrial site across a creek from a field behind Tyson Chicken Plant. Several options of length and direction of the roadway have been proposed over the last few years while seeking grant funds to fund the design and construction.

After reviewing previously proposed designs by Stantec, the Port Commission decided to search for another option. The Port Commission advertised for proposals from firms to be considered based on their credentials and experience. The Port Commission went through a process to rate the responding firms and made their choice to be used. The selected firm was negotiated with to set a price for the scope of work desired by the Port Commission and a contract was drawn to secure the firm’s employ.

The scope of work the Port Commission described to be performed varied greatly from the proposals that had been drawn in previous months and years. Thus, accounting for great differences in design cost since the roadway is only one fourth as long as original proposals called for while specifications have also been reduced.

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Sincerely,

Richard George

President, Warren County Board of Supervisors

 

In his column “395,000 in waste? Warren County taxpayers deserve better,” Michael Roach made an accusation that was either an uninformed mistake or a very calculated and purposefully timed political stunt aimed to portray the current Board of Supervisors as both complacent and ill concerned with regards to costs and county taxes.

It was stated in this column that there was an uneasy feeling having a member of the Board expressing the experience, familiarity of facilities and the trust earned by the already appointed engineer.

This county board, as well as the other counties in the state, appoints an engineer based on qualifications and typically continues that appointment if the work performed sustains public safety, well-being and costs are in line. This is the same practice exercised by both private and public entities alike, as exhibited by the Port Commission as well with continuing business with long contractor service relationships including legal services, sewer services, engineering, etc.

This competitive process Mr. Roach so proudly boasts about, not only did not seek competitive pricing but also appears to be a deliberate attempt to cast in a bad light both the board that is charged with oversight of the commission and the current engineer.

The fee of just over $400,000 that Mr. Roach quotes as being provided by the current engineer for design of the Ceres roadway could in no reasonable way be compared to the fee of $29,000 from the newly selected firm.

In a recent article in The Vicksburg Post, it was stated that the new engineering firm fee of $29,000 was to provide design of a 1,200-foot section of roadway expansion behind Tyson to improve the attractiveness of a greenfield site.

However, the fee Mr. Roach quotes from the current engineering firm was derived from an entirely different project with a scope of much greater size. The current engineer was asked to provide construction estimates, including engineering fees on numerous alternative routes to the same greenfield site. These estimates were done for the purpose of grant applications and were provided nearly four years ago to the Port Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

Not only did these estimates include roadways of much greater length than 1,200 feet, but also included extensions of waterlines, gravity sewer systems, removal and relocation of a 500,000-gallon elevated water tank and either bridge or box culvert structures to cross the major drain way that exists between Tyson and the greenfield site.

The comparison of these two monumentally different design fees as “competitive” is laughable and an insult to both the taxpayer and the board that looks out for their best interest.

We have always found pride in looking out for the taxpayer and reducing costs wherever we can, and this supposed $395,000 in waste implicated in the recent column for a “build it and they will come” dream project is absurd.

 

Sincerely,

John Carlisle

Supervisor, District 4