County accepts bridge bids

Joseph R. Gurner
Staff Writer
The apparent low bid on a bridge construction project in north Monroe County came in below estimates, but still above the amount the county has set aside for the project.
In its meeting Friday, Jan. 10, the Monroe County Board of Supervisors took bids on the replacement of a one-lane bridge on Ritter Road near Smithville.
Seven companies bid on the work with Dye Construction Inc. of Tupelo coming in as the lowest bidder with a bid of $123,401.50 for construction of the .85 mile bridge..
This was well below the estimated cost of $142,800.70, but because of an accounting error by the state, the county is short more than $4,000 in state bridge funds. In addition, there are other costs such as engineering fees and contingency funds which will have to be covered as well.
The county has about $117,000 through December 2003 which can be used for the project, but due to state law, the board members cannot obligate funds past their term in office which expires at that time.
The board voted to see if there are enough funds available in the county’s bridge and culvert fund to cover the additional costs. Board Clerk Ronnie Boozer and County Manager Sonny Clay will examine the funds and report back to the board at its next meeting.
In an on-going matter, the supervisors voted to stay with the same insurance plan the county currently uses. The board made the decision after going over three different proposals.
The county currently uses a self-funded plan. Board Attorney John Creekmore said claims were down in 2002 and as a result there would only be a small increase of four percent in the county’s maximum exposure under the current plan.
“We’ve got a good, competitive plan,” Creekmore said.
In another matter, Creekmore also received permission from the board to send a request to the state legislature for an extension on legislation which gives the county the ability to contribute funds to the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.
Under HB 1711, Monroe County can contribute up to $150,000 per fiscal year to the Chamber, however, the bill is set to automatically be repealed July 1, of this year.
In a related matter, the board approved a donation of $115,00 to the Chamber. In October, the county will donate another $25,000 for a total of $140,000 in contributions.
In other business:
• Boozer reported 18 mobile homes were added to Monroe County’s rolls in December bringing the total number of mobile and manufactured homes registered in the county to 2,486.
• The county requested $22,620 in inmate housing reimbursements and $713.08 in medical reimbursements from the state.
• Sheriff Ruble Maxey informed the board that Tracy Howard had been reappointed as the county fire investigator.
• The board approved change orders for $5,657 for the removal and replacement of a slab and $27,473 for installation of dock levelers on the Lane Furniture building at Wren. The costs will be shared by Lane.
• The board approved a request by Parks and Parks for $44,002.68 for well work done at the Lane Furniture building. The payment will come from grant money the county received for the work.
• The board gave permission for the removal or destruction of an old house on county property off Old Golf Course Road near Becker. Clay said the house will be offered to the Becker Volunteer Fire Department to use in fire training.
The next meeting of the Monroe County Board of Supervisors will be Friday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m. in the Chancery Building on Commerce Street in Aberdeen. The meeting is open to the public.