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Warren County Supervisors approve more than $400,000 in winter storm cleanup invoices

The Warren County Board of Supervisors on Monday moved to approve invoices from Custom Tree Care and DebrisTech totaling $412,188.60 for debris collection services after the February 2021 winter storm.

A total of five invoices from Custom Tree Care were approved, totaling $317,047.20. This is a positive, county engineer Keith O’Keefe explained, because the “not to exceed” amount on the county’s contract with Custom Tree Care was $350,000.

There were five invoices from DebrisTech totaling $95,141.40 in exchange for what O’Keefe described as debris removal monitoring in the aftermath of the winter storm. The issue, he explained, was that the final cost of DebrisTech’s services was more than $25,000 over the agreed-upon not-to-exceed amount set forth in the county’s contract with the company.

“This amount does exceed the previous amount established at $75,000,” O’Keefe said. “It’s a time and materials contract. We set the $75,000 as the not-to-exceed amount.”     

District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson asked for more clarification, to explain why the county was obligated to pay the additional unforeseen expenses from DebrisTech.

“How can that contract be tightened up? Because this isn’t a small addition to me,” Jackson said. “This is over 20 percent. So, going forward, how do we set a not-to-exceed amount, but ensure we (don’t have this overage)?”

Warren County’s contract with the company allowed for the overage, O’Keefe explained, because it only factored in time and material costs.

“The best way (to avoid this situation in the future) is to establish a not-to-exceed percentage in future contracts for debris monitoring,” O’Keefe said. “We have no leg to stand on; not on this one.”

The overage did not cause the county to exceed its total projected costs for winter storm debris removal, Jackson said.

“All in, because Custom Tree Care came in $33,000 less and (DebrisTech) went over, it still fits within what we thought,” she said.

The winter storm that plagued Warren County and the rest of Central Mississippi in mid-February dropped inches of snow and ice and left many without electricity and running water for weeks. Cleanup efforts are ongoing.