The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors approved $541,780 in new equipment for its new E911 Center, which is currently under construction.
The E911 board proposed the upgrades be divided between two companies — AT&T and Integrated Communications of Tupelo, after E911 Director Shalonda Givens presented the E911 Board’s recommendations to supervisors during the supervisors’ meeting this week.
The board unanimously approved the proposal after assurances that all equipment would be delivered on a timetable that would not delay the continuing construction of the E911 center. Givens said both companies had guaranteed all equipment would be delivered within eight weeks.
AT&T will provide a new phone system at a cost of $173,123 while Integrated Communications will provide a new CAD (Computer Assisted Dispatch) system and PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) system as well as new furniture at a cost of $386,657.
Givens said that Integrated Communications had proposed providing all equipment, but the board decided to split the orders between the two companies.
“The board’s feeling was that we have used AT&T for a number of years and we’ve been happy with their service,” Givens said. “We are familiar with their phone systems and they have local support in place, people that we’ve already been working with. We felt that was a real advantage for us going into a new phone system.”
In other board business, the board approved the donation of 0.06 acres of land (approximately 2,600 square feet) near The Island to the city of Columbus, contingent upon the city being able to acquire an adjacent two acres from private owners. The two-acre parcel will be the site of the city’s planned Terry Brown Amphitheater. The county-owned land to be deeded to the city will serve as an access road to the Amphitheater from Island Road.
City chief operations officer David Armstrong, who made the request, said having the county-owned parcel will give the city an alternate route to the amphitheater, since the city’s discussions with land-owners where the initial access road was planned did not produce an agreement.
The county also approved a recommendation from attorney Jason Dare of Jackson, who is defending the county in a lawsuit filed by Jerry Westlund, the owner of The Pony nightclub, over the county’s nightclub ordinance. Dare recommended the county not oppose Westlund’s request to drop the current lawsuit.
Board Attorney Tim Hudson said not contesting the effort to drop the suit could save the county legal fees.
“We expect them to file another lawsuit to take the place of this one,” Hudson told the supervisors. “There were major problems with this lawsuit, so they have decided to drop it and re-file.”
The lawsuit in question challenged the county’s implementation of an ordinance that would require all night clubs where live entertainment is provided to close by 1 a.m. and have the property vacated by 1:30 a.m.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Aberdeen in April.
Five months later, in November, the Pony’s owner and attorney appeared before supervisor to appeal the county’s ruling that no exception be permitted to the Pony.
“That’s the whole problem with the original lawsuit,” Hudson said after the board meeting. “In order to file the suit, they were required to have exhausted all other means of settling the matter before filing the suit. So the fact that their appeal of the county’s ruling came well after the suit was filed shows that they hadn’t exhausted every option before filing.”
Finally, the county opened bids for three separate projects relation to the expansion at Steel Dynamics Inc. for water/sewer, road construction and extension of a rail line to the planned Paint Facility.
The low bid for water/sewer was Perma Corporation of Columbus ($133,285 for water, $406,212.50 for sewer). The estimate for the job was a combined $688,000.
Malouf Construction of Madison was the low bidder for the rail extension, at $760,444.42. Malouf was also the low bidder for the road construction, with one caveat that might make Phillips Contracting of Columbus the low bidder. The estimate for that project was $827,000.
There were two bids taken for the project, with the second bid being made in the event that Steel Dynamics chooses alternate paving.
Malouf’s base bid was $1,618,008.27 compared to Phillips’ base bid of $1,625,978.40. However, Phillips bid for the alternative paving of $209,644 was lower than the Malouf bid of $241,920.
If Steel Dynamics elects to use the alternate paving, each company would have to deduct the paving costs from its base bid, then add in its alternate bid amount. Because of this, which of the two bids would be lower under those circumstances has yet to be presented to the board. The estimate for the road project was $1,793,000.
Supervisors expect to hear Steel Dynamics’ decision before its next board meeting on Feb. 29, at which time they will accept bids on all three projects.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is email@example.com.
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