BY BRIAN JONES
The Clay County Board of Supervisors discussed aerial photography and the status of the Home Project construction and opened several bids at an April 25 meeting.
Tax Assessor Paige Lamkin said the state is trying to get a group of counties to redo their aerial photography early. Each county is normally required to obtain new aerial photos every 12 years. Clay County is not due for new shots until 2018, but Lamkin said the state is pressing some to redo it early.
“In the cycle that we were on, we would have had to refly in 2010,” she said. “But after Katrina the state redid it all. That was in 2006. That now puts us so we are good until 2018. The state is trying to get as many counties as they can to refly in 2014, and when you have a group you tend to get better rates. I know Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Chocktaw, Monroe and Chickasaw are all in on the refly. I feel like we should wait until we have to refly. I talked to the state and they said we would still be good until 2018, but they are wanting an answer now as to whether or not we’re interested.”
Lamkin said she thought there would be a bigger group flying in 2018.
“Let’s table this until the next meeting so we can run it by everybody,” said District 2 Supervisor Luke Lummus. [District 3 Supervisor RB Davis and District 4 Supervisor Shelton Deanes were not present. – Brian Jones] “I don’t see that we should do it until we have, to, though.”
The issue was tabled until the first meeting in May.
Patsy Patterson from the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District came before the board to discuss problems with the Home Project. Major Construction, who was awarded the bids for three houses in Clay County is behind, and efforts to get the projects started have been fruitless, she said.
[On March 28 the board voted to give one of the three houses awarded to Major to Avant Construction. At that time Ms. Patterson said that Major didn’t feel they would be able to complete all three houses on time, and were willing to give one up. As there was only a $200 difference between the bids, the state allowed the contract to be transferred to Avant. Now Major may not be able to do any of the houses. – Brian Jones] “Major Construction signed contracts on October 30 and was issued notice to proceed on November 19,” Patterson said. “We gave them 120 working days to complete the project. We will probably have to add some days in there because of the weather, but basically the days are up. The only thing we’ve seen done is the asbestos removal. The people had to move out for that to be done, and since then he has not started any demolition on the sites. I have contacted him several times and reminded him that we need to get started, and so far nothing has happened.”
Patterson suggested the board write Major a letter stating their intent to void the contract.
“I thought we should give him an opportunity to appear before this board and tell you what’s going on,” Patterson said. “In the letter I said he needs to appear before the board May 6 to report the status, and that at that time the board would make a decision on whether to terminate the contract.”
Patterson said the 120 days expired at the end of April.
“If he was 50 percent through we could extend,” Patterson said.
“But he hasn’t started on any of it?” Lummus asked.
“He hasn’t demolished any of them,” Patterson said.
“I say we terminate his contract,” Lummus said.
“If he hasn’t even torn them down, I think we should terminate the contract,” said District 1 Supervisor Lynn Horton.
“The worst part of it is that he took the asbestos out, which means the people had to move out of the house, and now he hasn’t done the work,” said County Attorney Bob Marshall. “But I don’t think we can cancel it before the 120 days runs.”
“November 19 was the start date that we gave him,” Patterson said. “But it says in the contract that inclement weather will be considered, and there has been a lot of bad weather. If it comes down to weather days, he’d have to have some kind of weather reports or something to document that. And this has been 120 straight working days.”
“Let’s just get him in here May 6,” Marshall said. “Tell him in the letter that he has to submit documentation of days lost to weather.”
“There were some delays getting a sewer permit at one house,” Patterson said. “But that’s been done long enough now that something could have been started.
“One thing that we have to consider is that the next lowest bidder was considerably higher than he was,” Patterson added. “We are going to have to be sure that there is money in the budget to cover this.”
The board authorized sending the letter.
In other business, the board:
• Opened bids for seven storm sirens. Two bids were received: McCord Communication Services bid $167,595 and Precision Communications bid $137,712. The bids were taken under advisement. The sirens will be purchased with a FEMA grant.
• Opened bids for an emergency generator for the courthouse. Two bids were received: Esse LLC bid $54,845 and Precision Communications bid $49,939. The bids were taken under advisement. This purchase will also be made with a FEMA grant.
• Accepted the resignation of MSU Extension Service representative Donna Cliett. She is retiring effective the last Monday in June.
• Received Department of Justice approval for redistricting. The approval was spread on the minutes.