County moves forward with Longview Road plans


Oktibbeha County Engineer Clyde Pritchard presents the new plans to pave 2.08 miles of Longview Road Monday night. (Photo BY Faith Lifer, SDN)

By: 
Faith Lifer
Staff Writer

After much anticipation and countless citizen pleas, the Oktibbeha Board of Supervisors decided on Monday to move forward with plans to pave a portion Longview Road.

The current plan would pave 2.08 miles of the road, leaving 1.68 miles in the middle of the road unpaved.

District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard was absent from Monday’s meeting due to a family event.

Howard said he was available for conference call if necessary.

Oktibbeha County Engineer Clyde Pritchard came before the board Monday night to give an update on Longview Road.

“Our challenge has been to try to figure out how to get as much paved as we could with the money we have,” Pritchard said.

The original plans to pave Longview Road were federally funded.

Pritchard said the federal plans intended to pave the road at a width of 33 feet. However, now that the project is not funded by federal money, the county can’t afford a road that wide.

After meeting with Vice President and District 1 Supervisor and District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller several times, Pritchard met with State Aid Road Construction in Jackson recently to try to solve the problem.

Pritchard said he asked members of the State Aid one essential question:

“What can we do to go back to a 22-foot county road and still not jeopardize federal funds in the future— should they become available?”

With the help of the State Aid members, Pritchard left Jackson with a plan which allowed paving Longview Road as a 22-foot county road.

The plans include two paved sections of Longview Road.

The west end of the road will be paved from the railroad track, past the First Baptist Church of Longview, to the county bridge at Talking Warrior Creek.

The west end stretch is close to 1.27 miles, while the east end of the road will be paved from Highway 25 to close to 1,000 feet past Horsely Lane. The east end stretch is close to .81 miles.

With each end together, the plan aims to pave 2.08 miles of Longview Road.

“That leaves 1.68 miles in the middle,” Pritchard said.

“That being said, we’ve prepared an order for you to look at,” Pritchard said alluding to project cost. “This is the order that would release us for State Aid to provide a new project number for us.”

The current plan is based on a $1,784,000 cost estimate for the project.

The funds for the project would come from three separate sources:

• $886,000 would come through State Aid funds

• $250,000 would come through county bonds

• $750,000 would come through the BP oil spill allocation from the recent special legislative session.

The plan requires new survey work of Longview Road.

“This board order will let us go in and start redesigning and get the plans ready,” Pritchard said.

If federal funds for Longview Road do become available in the future, the current plans ensure no work will have to be redone for federal requirements.

DISCUSSION

Board President and District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer said he would rather get the full road paved as soon as possible.

“I would say to get some additional money to make the roads come together. That would be my suggestion,” Trainer said.

Trainer suggested the board create a bond to pave the full road.

Trainer asked Pritchard how much paving the remaining 1.68 miles of road would cost.

“We’re actually doing the most expensive parts of the road, because of where the houses are,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard estimated paving the additional section of the road would cost close to $600,000.

However, other members of the board disagreed with Trainer.

“I appreciate what you’re saying,” Montgomery said to Trainer. “But I’m prepared to go with this board order right here. This gets a substantial amount of work done on Longview Road.”

“We can’t keep running back to the taxpayers,” Montgomery added.

“Why not?” Trainer challenged. “They’re the ones who are on us about fixing the road.”

“Because we’re going to run every single business we’ve got out of this town,” Montgomery said, referring to the raised taxes.

Miller agreed with Montgomery.

“I’m prepared to go with the order we have in front of us,” Miller said. “And still see if the opportunity is out there to get the federal funding without raising taxes.”

“I think it’s a great proposal and it’s a step in the right direction while we find a solution to fix the road,” Miller added.

“I support this plan,” Trainer said. “I’m not looking to hold it up.”

Supervisors then unanimously approved Pritchard’s plans for Longview Road with Howard absent.

Pritchard said, with the board order approved, he thinks Longview Road construction will begin in the spring.

State Aid will visit Pritchard in Oktibbeha County Friday morning with the possible plans to include additional road milage in the plan.

OTHER BOARD NEWS

After an executive session, Miller made a motion to remove a write up from county employee file.

The employee was written up by Oktibbeha County Road Manager Hal Baggett on Feb. 26 for grading St. Mark Road, an E-911 road.

It is illegal for the county to repair or construct on a private road.

However, Baggett recently wrote a work order to grade St. Mark Road on Aug. 22. without penalty.

Due to the inconsistency, Miller made a motion to remove the former employee’s write up.

Miller said her motion was to promote the equal treatment of county employees.

“I don’t agree with double standards,” Miller said.

Miller’s motion passed 3-1 with District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams against and Howard absent.

After a split disagreement between the four present board members Monday night, the county remains without an appointee for its Golden Triangle Development LINK board member.

While Miller and Montgomery voiced support for Michael Wolfe, Trainer and Williams voiced support for Joseph Landfair.

Landfair has served on the LINK board the past two years.

Miller and Montgomery were against Landfair’s reappointment in large part due to his poor meeting attendance.

In two years, Landfair has been recorded present for two meetings.

The Board of Supervisors will hold its next regular meeting on Oct. 1.

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