Guntown to rescind contract

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

After hiring an engineering firm to study its wastewater system, the city of Guntown will cancel the contract because another firm already was picked to do the work.
The Board of Alderman on Monday approved Cook Coggin Engineers to study and recommend temporary improvements to its overloaded wastewater treatment facility. But Lee County on Aug. 1 had hired Engineering Solutions Inc. for a regional wastewater system study that includes Guntown.
“We didn’t know that,” said Mayor Robert Herring. “We’re going to rescind the contract at our next board meeting.”
Guntown officials knew about the regional study, to which they are contributing $12,500, but they hadn’t been told a firm was hired and ready to start.
Due to a 76 percent population spurt in the past decade, the north Lee County suburb’s treatment facility has reached maximum capacity. It received a three-year extension from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, but it must take immediate action to improve or expand its system, Herring said.
That’s why officials rushed into a contract with Cook Coggin. But ESI promised the city it would look at its treatment facility first, negating the need for the separate study.
“If we do Cook Coggin, we’ll be paying twice,” Herring said, noting that the firm also is the city’s regular engineer.
Herring said a study price hadn’t yet been negotiated with Cook Coggin, so he doesn’t know how much the city will save by rescinding.
Lee County supervisors awarded the contract Monday. They are partnering with the cities of Baldwyn, Guntown and Saltillo, as well as the Community Development Foundation and Three Rivers Planning and Development Foundation on the project. Each entity will pay $12,500 for the study.
The Appalachian Regional Commission also contributed $60,000 to the project through a grant.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com