Citizen comments June 2019

Oktibbeha supervisors listen to citizen comments during its meeting on Monday.

The Longview Road project, which was been delayed several times, finally has a bidder, and Monday evening the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the bid.

Bidding for the project opened on June 7. Philips Contracting, based out of Columbus, was the lowest bidder, quoting the project at $2.2 million. Oktibbeha County has $1 million in funds available for the project. The remainder of the cost will come from the state.

The cost was a few cents off from another quote given to supervisors, but County Engineer Clyde Pritchard said that margin was to be expected for a job of this size.

"That's not unusual when you see they're performing about 100 items," Pritchard said.

Pritchard suggested supervisors go ahead and approve contracts for the long-delayed project to expedite the process.

Both the bid and the contracts were unanimously approved.

Pritchard said setting a date for when the contractor could have people out on the site to begin construction was difficult, noting having construction start in three weeks would be "speedy."

County residents have long asked for the dirt road, which is unpaved for over four miles and connects Highway 25 and Highway 12, to be paved.

Board President Orlando Trainer, of District 2, said the project involved much more than just paving the road.

"It will be paved and widened," Trainer said. "Drainage will be installed, too."

Trainer said the road won't be as "new" as some other roads in Starkville, but it will be in much better condition than it is now.

Residents have complained the road is dangerous because of the dust stirred up by passing cars being so thick that it impairs visibility. Another complaint from residents is that the dust coats children waiting for the bus.

Responsibility for the road is split between Board Vice President John Montgomery of District 1 and District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller.

In July 2018, Montgomery said funds that were previously set aside for the project were instead used to build Hail State Boulevard, which bypasses the Mississippi State University's campus.

State funds for the project come from the Surface Transportation Program and the State Aid Road Construction division of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Funds received through these programs will be unavailable after the current board term, which ends in November.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

In other business, an approved grant application from November 2018 required more specific information for the county to receive the $70,000 it offered, so supervisors unanimously passed a resolution at Monday's meeting to add the requested information to the application, allowing the funds to be received.

The grant comes from the Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Assistance Program, which was established in 2016 to help counties across the state. To receive the grant money, the program required official documentation through open meeting minutes of the destination of the truck.

Monday's resolution passed but supervisors will add the required information in the required format. The truck has already been ordered and will be used by the District 4 Fire Department in Sturgis.

County Fire Service Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan said the change was important because it was required to obtain the truck but demanded very little actual work.

"As we say, we signed, sealed and delivered, but they wanted something that was on the Board minutes," Rosenhan said.

This grant comes from the 12th round out of the RFTAAP. Oktibbeha County has applied and been accepted for each round so far.

Rosenhan said he would begin the paperwork for the county to apply for the 13th round of distributed grant money, which begins on July 1.

If Oktibbeha County's application is accepted again, there will be a $90,000 matching grant that will help put a fire truck in Maben.

Supervisors made note that the truck's destination should appear on the record and in the application to avoid the same confusion.

Sturgis' fire truck has been ordered and is expected to arrive in the city this fall.

IN OTHER NEWS

• District 2 Constable Curtis Randall asked supervisors to temporarily appoint his son, Curtis Randall Jr., to the position of constable while he stepped down from the position for a brief period. Supervisor Miller offered another candidate to fill the position. Supervisors voted 4-1 for Curtis Randall Jr., with Miller being the only dissenting vote. Randall is currently running unopposed for another term in office.

• Following a request form Governor Phil Bryant, supervisors unanimously voted that July 5, be considered a holiday for county employees. July 5 will fall on a Friday this year.

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