Saltillo board to ask MDEQ for Park Ridge approval

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – The process of fixing Park Ridge subdivision could be under way after the Saltillo Board of Aldermen approved sending a request of approval to the Mississippi Department of Environment Quality.
The subdivision is plagued with improperly designed roads and drainage that has led to potholes, flooding and erosion. Residents say the developer, Fred Collins, refuses to fix the problem.
Saltillo Public Works Director Richard Feist said the problems could be fixed for about $85,000 but the streets and utilities were never dedicated to the city and the city can’t legally operate on private property.
The roads cannot be accepted by the city of Saltillo before they have been approved by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Mississippi Department of Health.
Feist said because the subdivision has sewer clean-outs instead of manholes, MDEQ will likely deny approval of the subdivision’s infrastructure.
The letter approved by the board Tuesday will ask MDEQ to approve the infrastructure knowing that if property dedicated to and accepted by the city, the clean-outs will be replaced with manholes.
Since board members are approaching the final quarter of the last year of their terms, they are limited in the amount of money they can expend.
Just over $61,000 was moved to city’s capital outlay budget from reserves as a part of the board’s final budget revision. The money can be combined with the $24,000 bond Collins was required to post when he started the development to complete the project.
If the project costs more than 25 percent of the city’s originally published budget, the board isn’t allowed to execute the funding during the final quarter, per state law.
Alderman Scott Knight told the board he wanted to go ahead and move the money and then ask the city’s CPA to see if the project falls within 25 percent of the budget.
“I understand the odds are against us in getting all the approvals in time but I move that we move monies over so they will be readily available in case we can do something,” Knight said. “If the CPA tells us we can’t use it, it goes right back into the budget.”
jb.clark@journalinc.com