Board receives four proposals to provide engineering services for city of Vicksburg

Published 3:19 pm Thursday, May 25, 2023

Four engineering firms have submitted proposals for engineering services for the city of Vicksburg.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its Thursday meeting received proposals from Neel-Schaffer Engineers and Allen & Hoshall, both of which have offices in Vicksburg, and from WGK Inc. of Clinton and EJES of Jackson.

Both Neel-Schaffer and Allen & Hoshall have performed engineering on city projects in the past and are involved with some present projects.

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EJES was hired to prepare an application for an Environmental Protection Agency Grant to replace lead water service lines and is the engineer for the Washington Street rehabilitation project.

The board referred the sealed proposals to a seven-member committee appointed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to examine the proposals and recommend whether the city hire a civil engineer or outsource engineering services for the city. The board on May 1 authorized seeking requests for proposals and forming the committee after Flaggs announced that then-Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman was retiring at the end of May.

After Thursday’s meeting, Flaggs said the committee will meet on May 30 to review the proposals and will make its recommendations at the board’s June 5 meeting.

“We’re going to look at them and then try to figure out something for that Friday (June 9),” he said. “We’re not in a hurry because we’ve pretty much got all the engineering tied to all the projects now. We haven’t created any new projects.”

Flaggs said the board will decide whether to hire an engineering firm or hire a project manager to review city projects and work with the engineers selected for a particular project.

“We’re going to want the most cost-effective way,” he said.

Flaggs indicated at the board’s May 15 meeting that he might consider hiring a project manager as a way to possibly control the costs of city projects.

Flaggs said at that time he reviewed what the city has paid for project engineering during the fiscal year and he was concerned the city may not be getting its money’s worth. He was also concerned about the project costs of construction and the associated cost of engineering.

“Because we don’t have a project manager, I think they are overpricing us because of the fact that what we have is somebody eyeballing the contract and that’s it. That’s why (we have) all these change orders; because no one’s going out and checking on the job,” he said.

Flaggs also indicated he was considering eliminating the city’s public works department in favor of a project engineer to look at the costs associated with the individual projects.

“The change orders are coming because we’re not carefully evaluating the project; we look at the process and pass it on,” he said. “We want a project manager that comes in that can possibly help us design and look at cost estimates before we go to construction.”

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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