Okolona gets final report on sewer, street projects

1STOCK NEMS Chickasaw_Co_news_OKOLOKOLONA – Aldermen were updated on the city’s summer street paving and sewer renovation project recently and given details on both projects.

Representatives with the contractor Cook-Coggins said both projects were completed and have been accepted by state and federal authorities that helped fund the project.

Aldermen said they were pleased with the project but questioned Cook-Coggins on a subcontractor bill by J. Bearden Construction for $15,000 that the subcontactor said the city owes.

Project Engineer David Long, of Cook-Coggins, said the city does not owe the bill.

Long said J. Bearden ran into concrete when it began grinding up city streets and that slowed work and cost the contractor more.

“All contractors are required to do due diligence and they know they can run into this kind of problem,” said Long. “The contract specifically points out and allows for change orders if there is a drastic change in the scope of work. All this is covered in the contract we executed with the contractor.”

The city has obtained a Community Development Block Grant to do 4,200-feet of new sewer line. They are also seeking a 28,000-foot USDA sewer project and a 1,500-foot waterline improvement project also from USDA.

That project saw sewer pipe in some Okolona neighborhoods that was 20-, 30-, or 40-years old replaced with new, seamless pipe.

The city also repaved streets in just about every neighborhood in town. That project also came with new striping and signage for the city.

In other business:

• The city approved the use of Chickasaw County voting machines in the upcoming school board election and city municipal elections.

Okolona City Attorney Gene Barton pointed out anytime there are changes to voting procedures they must be approved by the city and those changes spread on city minutes.

“Since you have recently redrawn district lines we need to exercise extra caution,” said Barton. “Moving from a paper ballot to an electronic ballot will be a change for some people and may prompt some confusion.”

The motion to use the new voting machines was made by Ward 3 Alderman Eldridge Lowe and seconded by Ward 4 Alderman Imogene Armstrong

• The board also voted to purge city poll books and Barton also urged the city to spread that move upon city minutes.

The motion to purge city poll books was tabled until the county can provide a computer printout of the old poll records and the new poll books.

• The board entered executive session to discuss personnel matters related to police officers and fire fighters. The board was in closed session for approximately 15 minutes and took no action once they returned to the boardroom.

• The city also approved travel and expenses for 25 people to attend eight meetings and training sessions outside of Okolona.