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Ceres water tank refurbishing work approved, bid awarded

The Warren County Board of Supervisors during their Nov. 4 meeting and the Warren County Port Commission during their meeting Tuesday approved the low bid for rehabilitation work on the 300,000-gallon water tank at Ceres Industrial Park.

County engineer John McKee, after reviewing the four bids submitted, recommended to both the supervisors and the Port Commission the work to refurbish the tank should be awarded to Tank Pro, Inc., a company based in Northport, Ala.

The bid called for the work to be completed within 90 days and came with a base cost of $234,503. An additive alternate to the bid would bring the total of the project to $287,001 if additional work was required.

Warren County Port Commission Executive Director Pablo Diaz said the additive alternate to the bid would kick in only if the company discovers the paint currently on the tank is lead-based and would require special handling in its removal.

The refurbishing of the tank is a project supervisors and port commissioners agreed is needed to get the tank prepared for a Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality inspection next summer.

In reviewing the scope of work, the company will paint both the interior and exterior of the tank, repair any pitted interior and exterior surfaces, grout all tank leg plates and other work.  The work also includes the replacement of the logo on the tank.

The approval puts to rest what has been an ongoing debate between the two boards in how to pay for the work.

In 2014, the supervisors, Port Commission and Culkin Water District joined together in a memorandum of understanding that said each group would work together in paying for the work, which at the time was estimated to cost $300,000.

In the MOU, the county was first directed to seek grants to fund the work. After that, the MOU lays out a plan by which the Culkin Water District and the Port Commission would share the cost of the work “to the extent of their ability.” In an agreement between the supervisors and Culkin this year, however, the MOU was put aside when the county decided to pay for the work in its entirety with Culkin not asked to pay any portion.

There was also a disagreement between the supervisors and the Port Commission as to the timing of the work and how the expense of the repairs was handled. 

The Port Commission, which manages the assets at Ceres and the Port of Vicksburg, said there was still time to work out a cost-sharing agreement with Culkin before the Mississippi Environmental Quality inspection next summer. Supervisors disagreed, stating the work needed to be done soon and that the county could bear the entire expense.

During the budgeting process this year, supervisors used funds from the recent sale of property at Ceres to fund the work, placing the expense in the Port Commission’s budget. The Port Commission had not included that expense in their original budget and did not agree with the supervisors’ recommendation to add it.

At the time, county administrator John Smith said the final decision on how to use county funds, even those generated from the sale of county assets managed by the Port Commission, rested with the supervisors, not the Port Commission.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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