Thursday, April 15, 2010
City considers quotes on gate
By SUE WATSON
The main gate at Hill Crest Cemetery may not be repaired before Pilgrimage, but the board of aldermen voted unanimously to accept the lowest and best bid to fix the gate post as soon as the state gives its OK.
Alderman Russell Johnson moved to hire a mason to repair the column at the main gate, but Mayor Andre’ DeBerry reminded the board that Mississippi Department of Archives and History has to approve the work.
DeBerry held to his opinion that there is no hurry to get the main gate repaired because there are so many other entrances available.
“We are not going to endanger people to make it look good,” he said.
The gate has been blocked for nearly a year while the mayor’s office sought approval from Archives and History for the repair, which takes into consideration the material used since the cemetery is listed on the historic register.
City attorney Kizer Jones said he will inquire whether the city can get the repairs paid for under a grant for restoration of historic grave stones because the gate is made of stone, as well.
Three mason workers provided quotes for the work which ranged from $2,300 to $3,000 to $8,000, according to the mayor.
Don Hollingsworth, director of public works and general manager of the utility department, opened bids for lawn service at the utility and for street lights for Crescent Meadow Drive. The board voted to take the bids under advisement.
Mayor DeBerry said the city will push to improve the census count in Marshall County, which is running a point below the state average of 56 percent of true count. He said census workers are having trouble getting a true count of certain population groups, including African American males. To that end, DeBerry is considering holding a basketball tourney for men to popularize the need for a complete census, he said.
The figures gathered by the census are used for redrawing political boundaries, for distribution of federal dollars to states and for determining populations in need of services, the mayor said.
The Mississippi Municipal League and the Mississippi Tax Commission is asking cities if they want to opt in or out of the 2010 Sales Tax Holiday, DeBerry said. The holiday was not highly successful last year, he said.
And because sales tax revenues are down, it is probably not a good option to participate this year, he said. The city has to decide by April 30.
The board voted to adopt an interlocal agreement between itself and Marshall County and Benton County to pay a portion of the costs to operate a WIN Job Center in Holly Springs. Under the agreement, Marshall County’s share would be $16,234, Holly Springs would pay $4,755 and Benton County will pay $3,900 the first year of operation. Holly Springs’ share would increase to $6,452 the second year.
The board of aldermen gave fire chief Kenny Holbrook permission to begin work on the renewal of a Firefighters Grant proposal and approved a mutual aid agreement between the city’s fire department and Marshall County’s rural fire departments.
Holbrook presented numerous applicants for two career-track firefighter positions and four part-time positions.
Information Technology is increasing its efforts to provide support for local and regional businesses in workforce training, said executive director Ken Robinson. The department is also implementing citywide OSHA training classes for employees. The classes will improve safety in the workplace, the safety of individuals, and help decrease workman’s compensation claims, said the mayor. It is also expected to decrease insurance premiums.
Robinson provided a new city web page address - www.hollyspringsmsus.com.
In utility department business, Hollingsworth asked the board to approve construction of basins that would capture any accidental leakages of fluid from several voltage regulators and transformers at some of the substations. The board approved obtaining quotes for the work.
Work continues on implementing safety features at the utility department building, warehouse and outdoor fencing, Hollingsworth said.
He requested a knuckle boom truck to pick up tree limbs on rights-of-way after crews trim trees so property owners will not be left with a mess. The truck would cost about $90,000, he said.
The board authorized the general manager to obtain quotes for service to have large tires with flats changed in the field.
In the area of public works, Hollingsworth asked for a six-month extension on a Natural Gas Loan interest payment. The board approved the financing of the interest with a local bank.
The board discussed the intention to hire a director of public works to manage and oversee projects. The position would be in the budget for the next fiscal year. Those duties are currently being performed by Hollingsworth.
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