Thursday, June 4, 2009
Bid date set for bypass paving
By SUE WATSON
Phase II, paving and striping, of the North Holly Springs Bypass will get underway this summer.
The Marshall County Board of Supervisors authorized a bid opening for July 13 at 11:30 a.m.
Final construction of the bypass was delayed for over a year after fuel costs pushed construction bid prices for the original project several million dollars over the estimated cost. A U.S. Department of Transportation fund, established to stimulate the economy, brought forth the much-needed, several million dollars required to complete the project this summer.
The bypass is expected to ease traffic congestion through downtown Holly Springs by routing traffic around the city to and from U.S. Highway 78 from Highway 4 East, Highway 7 North and Highway 311.
Two other county road projects – one on Hernando Road and the other on Bethlehem/Waterford Road and Cornersville Road - are contracted out but W.G. Construction, the contract winner, is several weeks late in getting the work started. Supervisors have expressed concern that the contractor could run short of the allotted time to finish overlay of the roads.
Supervisor George Zinn III expressed concern that some road signs be put up on Marianna Road past the Miller Road intersection. He said the road is reported to have caused numerous wrecks because it has an uphill curve and people drive fast in the area.
Zinn asked the board to put up 45 mph speed limit signs on both sides of the curve and to stripe the road.
Road manager Larry Hall said the signs could be put up but will likely be ignored by drivers.
The board approved the measure.
County board legislative consultant Gary Anderson reported a local and private bill that authorizes the construction of a sewer in the north end of the county along Highway 72 is moving through the hoops at the Legislature. The Senate, under the urging of Sen. Bill Stone, is modifying language in a local and private bill already approved by the House, he said.
Supervisors were concerned that the county has no authority to collect delinquent sewer bills after the sewer system is built.
“In Mississippi, municipalities have authority and the right for sewage collection in state law, but not counties,” said Anderson. “So we are having to go through the hurdles.”
The Senate takes up the bill when it goes back into session Wednesday of this week.
County school superintendent Donald Randolph visited the board meeting to thank supervisors for the support received for the school district over the past six years of his tenure. He warned the board that his budget will be cut by $470,000 without money to replace it.
The shortfall will have to be made up with local monies, he said. He said he expects the state board of education to have to cut its budget again this year by 5 percent and yearly until the 2011 school year.
Randolph expects the ad valorem tax collection for the school district to undergird the district.
“We are going to have school,” he said with determination, adding that most of his budget will consist of salaries but no new staff or money to hire more teachers unless class loads get beyond the 27-1 student/teacher ratio.
He said the district will “clean, paint and wax this summer.”
“There’s not enough money to do anything else,” he said.
Randolph thanked the board of supervisors for buying and renovating the old Buford Furniture building for space for the district’s central office. The work is in the beginning stages.
Cliff Hunt with Standard Construction returned to the board Monday with an attorney to answer questions from supervisors about the gravel and sand mining operations in the north of the county on Bubba Taylor Road.
Supervisor Keith Taylor motioned to delay discussions for another week while attorney Kent Smith could finish researching the concern about the extent of mining operations by the company.
Taylor said he has had complaints from some of his constituents that the mining boundaries were expanded after the county approved the project.
Taylor also expressed concern that the county is not always aware when a bond is about to expire for a subdivision developer. The board of supervisors needs to know when bonds are about to expire should there be some problems with roads or erosion or flood control measures left by the subdivision developer, he said. When they leave problems, the county is having to come in and spend money to fix storm run-off problems and road damages in subdivisions, he said.
Taylor said he does not want to discourage residential growth and construction but at the same time does not want “the taxpayer to get stuck fixing all the problems” left by developers.
“It needs to be a turnkey job. When a developer leaves a subdivision he needs to turn it over to the county,” he said.
Zoning director Conway Moore apprised the board of several construction bonds about to expire and said the county engineer should be the one to keep track of the bonds’ expiration dates.
Hall suggested the expiration dates could be kept on a calendar.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett added that a landowner can sue a contractor/developer who leaves a subdivision with inadequate erosion and silt control and road damage.
Taylor explained, “If we catch stuff before a bond expires, we can make the developer do repair work. I think the county engineer should be responsible for making sure problems are solved with developers - not county road expenditures for these problems.”
Supervisor Eddie Dixon asked the board to approve putting Curley Lane on the official county road map and register. The board authorized beginning the lengthy process to get the road taken over by the county.
Four of eight heirs to the estate of Mattie B’s were back in the board room Monday with two of the heirs asking the county to stop their siblings from holding events on the 10-12 acre property at Wall Hill.
Jo Ivory and Leatha Stevenson alleged that their brother Terrence Polk had held a car show Sunday and had sold food and alcohol without a license. Polk denied the allegations.
Ivory said she understood the board of supervisors would not allow the business to be open and she had called police.
“The officer said he’d be glad when we get this business over (estate probated), because we are a pain,” she said.
Supervisor George Zinn III went on the record for the board as having authorized no activities whatsoever.
Board attorney Kent Smith, who represented the estate of Mattie B in a lawsuit before her death, told the four family members that the matter of holding money-making events could not be settled until the estate is settled.
“I expect the estate can close soon,” he said.
“If they cant resolve this they can do so in Chancery Court. The estate’s assets are the property and that’s what they are fighting over. It is an issue the heirs have and they have to work it out - partition or buy each other out.”
Smith said the board of supervisors has the authority to grant a business license but it cannot take it away.
“Y’all are coming to this board in the form of a court and we can’t do that,” he said. “This board gives permits but the sheriff can’t shut a facility down without a court order. A judge has to give an order to shut down or revoke a license.”
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