Thursday, April 10, 2008
City accepts bids on sewer project
By SUE WATSON
The Chatham Heights sewer project bid went to Delta Constructors of Jackson, following discussion last week by the Holly Springs mayor and board of aldermen.
The project will replace age-old sewer mains that serve the east and south portions of the city.
Public Works Director Don Hollingsworth recommended negotiating with Delta Constructors for a base bid price of $984,157, less $43,000 which will be pulled out of the project because it is not needed. The Appalachian Regional Commission has agreed to cover a shortfall of $130,000 under a grant to make the project’s total cost come in line with funding approved by USDA Rural Development.
Also included in the project is improvement work at the waste water treatment lagoon to the southwest of the city.
Following that business, the board of aldermen approved numbers of resolutions and measures including a motion to adopt a loan agreement for phases I and II of a $2,850,000 natural gas project; plus an interlocal agreement with the county for Tax Increment Financing Plans (TIFs) for infrastructure work at the Holly Springs Commons and Frank Swords’ development.
The financing is critical for finishing up planned development at the southwestern side of Holly Springs.
TIF planning allows the developer to pay for essential infrastructure when a government lacks the funds to pay for it. The developer is repaid off a portion of the increased ad valorem tax revenues generated.
In these two TIF projects, Kenlan partners with the city to finance $750,000 and Swords partners to finance $1.5 million.
Hollingsworth presented two other projects, funding for a second traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 7 South and J.M. Ash Drive and a wastewater treatment project.
The board tabled discussion on the traffic signal to await more information and will schedule a meeting with a consultant on the wastewater treatment project.
Chief Robert Pearson requested, and the board approved, the application for a grant to purchase 10 bullet-proof vests for officers. The grant, if funded, would pay 75 percent of the cost while the city would pay 25 percent.
The board approved lease purchase of two new police cars at a combined cost of $48,690.
Chief Kenny Holbrook requested, and the board approved, an application for five tornado sirens to cover emergencies in the city.
The sirens could cost close to $20,000 each and can be equipped to produce either voice or siren warnings.
Homeland Security is the granting agency.
Holbrook said a survey has shown that five sirens would cover most spots in the city, with one siren needed for each of the five miles incorporated in the city limits.
Parks and Recreation director Ken McMullen introduced Walter and Sarah Byrd with Round 1 Boxing in Olive Branch.
The Byrds asked to use the multi-purpose building for junior olympic matches on April 25 and 26.
The event, which was approved by the board pending demonstration of insurance and further research, will draw as many as 200 contestants between the ages of eight and 16 for the two nights, the Byrds said. Contestants will attend from the states of Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky.
Mayor DeBerry said the event could help the city get a boxing club started.
The Mississippi Hardhats have signed a contract with the city to use the multi-purpose building for practices and home basketball games.
Alderman-At-Large Tim Liddy reported on a recent Community Heritage grant he learned about, saying some funds are available for improvements that make a community attractive to new business prospects.
The board and mayor discussed an application to the state department of Archives and History to make improvements on the old police station and water department building. Federal grants would require a match of 75 percent by the city, he said.
Mayor DeBerry suggested the city could be better off applying for a small municipalities grant for $250,000 instead of the Archives and History grant. He said the projects would cost a lot to make major improvements.
Information technology report
Ken Robinson said activity is picking up at the IT Center, including forklift and welding courses implemented recently through a partnership with the city, Northwest Community College, Contract Fabricators Incorporated and Parker-Racor.
A new customer service class has been added by Northwest to teach office workers courtesy while handling difficult phone calls.
“We have had five to complete the class,” he said, adding that the course could be offered to city employees.
Basic computer classes continue to be of interest to the community, he said.
“We are starting to see those class enrollments really pick up,” Robinson said.
IT is working to get a basic electricity class added to the offerings, he said.
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