Gentry Mordica continues role as commissioner

By BETH BUNCH,

During the first meeting of a new calendar year, the Forrest County Board of Supervisors took care of the county’s business.

The first order of business was swearing in Gentry Mordica as an election commissioner. Mordica had been appointed in September 2017 to fill the unexpired term of former commissioner Tyler Wood, who resigned less than a year into the job. Mordica served until November 2018 when a new election was held to fill the remainder of the term, which ends in January 2021.

While continuing in effect a previously-adopted “Proclamation of Existence of a Local Emergency” due to the severe thunderstorms and tornadoes on Jan. 21, 2017, the board added a new proclamation because of the flash flooding on Dec. 27, 2018. The proclamation will continue until terminated by further act of the board.

On the 2017 proclamation, insurance money paid to date totals $298,577.23; total FEMA/MEMA paid to date is $163,350.88.

In other business, the board:

• Reappointed David Miller as the Forrest County board attorney at the salary currently stated in the budget.

• Approved the opening of annual bids, which were opened Dec. 27, 2018. All bids, with the exception of two, were approved. A bid from United Rentals was rejected due to being 1:55 late and one for Mississippi Machinery was rejected due to not following instructions.

• Acknowledged recording a letter of approval from MDOT for additional funding in the amount of $200,000 in Federal Transportation Alternative Program funds, for the construction of a shared path along Classic Drive, beginning at Pine Tree Drive and extending to U.S. 49, a distance of 1.8 miles.

• Approved and authorized the execution of the Construction, Engineering and Inspection Services Contract between Forrest County and Shows Dearman & Waits, Inc. at a cost of $36,428 to perform engineering and inspection services for the construction of the Country Club Road Pedestrian Overpass over U.S. 49. The city of Hattiesburg is paying half of the expenditure.

• Acknowledged recording of a letter from MDOT concurring with the bid award to Gulf Breeze Landscaping LLC in the amount of $368,510.25 for the construction of the U.S. Hwy. 49 Landscape Improvements Project. The total cost of the project is $443,409.

Board President David Hogan explained this project would reach from the U.S. 49/Interstate 59 pass and progress south of Forrest General Hospital to the Cloverleaf Center. The MDOT grant has matching funds paid for by the city, county, the University of Southern Mississippi, Forrest General Hospital and other private entities.

• Purchased a silver sponsorship/advertisement for the 5th annual “Power to Fight Hunger” Golf Tournament benefitting Extra Table to be held at Timberton Golf Club on April 25, to advertise county resources.

• Approved the burial/cremation of the unclaimed body of Richard Thomas, per the order and letter of the coroner, at a cost to the county of $500 payable to A&A Memorial Chapel.

• Approved and authorized reimbursement for grant administrative fee from Breakthrough Community Services in the amount of $12,500 for the MEMA Disaster Assistance Housing Grant for materials and supplies to repair or replace low and moderate income owner-occupied housing damaged by the January 2017 severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. 

• Approved, authorized payment for $2,040 payable to Broaddus and Associates; $1,441 payable to AEDD Plus; Application No. 4 for $62,055.90 payable to Southeastern Contracting LLC for an extension of two days due to inclement weather on Nov. 9, 10, all in connection with the FEMA 361 Shelter Project – Phase II, per the request of the project manager. The funding to Broaddus and Associates is for the safe rooms being built at all Forrest County Schools. 

Currently, bids have been let on eight of the 10 projects with the Petal Lower and Rawls Springs shelters waiting final approval. Board President Hogan asked that a Broaddus representative be in attendance at the next board meeting, hopefully with funds reimbursing the board for the outlay of money it has spent. 

• Approved, authorized payment in the amount of $2,100 payable to Broaddus; $775.52, payable to AEDD Plus and $70,772.81, payable to Reeves Construction, all in connection with the FEMA 361 Shelter Project – Phase II, per the request of the project manager. (Dixie Attendance Center)

• Authorized the purchase of one new 2019 Ford F-150 4-wheel drive truck from Courtesy Motors at a cost of $27,793 for the Forrest County Sheriff’s Dept. 

• Renewed district office space lease for Rep. Steven Palazzo in the Chancery Courthouse Building at a cost of $800 a month. The previous price of $700/month was increased when office staff asked that janitorial services be included.

• Renewed radio sponsorship of the University of Southern Mississippi baseball with Blakeney Communications at last year’s cost.

• At the request of District 3 Supervisor Burkett Ross, the board renewed its key investor status of $2,500 with the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce. He also contributed $500 to the Petal Education Foundation.

• County offices will be closed on Jan. 21, 2019, in observance of the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King Jr. The board’s next meeting has been rescheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, due to the holiday closing.

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