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Demopolis council rebidding Jackson bridge project

The Demopolis City Council discussed several ongoing projects during a meeting on Thursday, including sidewalks, the Jackson Street bridges, and the repair of the downtown monument.

The city had advertised bids for the Jackson Street bridge projects earlier, but no bids were returned.  The council approved changes to the bid with the goal of attracting more interest from construction companies. The project had been split into two projects, one for each bridge, and the original bid also had a deadline for completion that coincided with the beginning of the school year.

“We are working with ALDOT to consolidate both the bridges into one project. Perhaps that will cut the costs and attract more contractors,” said Charles Jones, who was serving as mayor pro-tem in the absence of Mayor John Laney.

The city is also removing the time frame for completion, although they acknowledge it would likely lead to traffic issues. “Traffic to the west side of town will have to be detoured,” he said.

Even though both projects will be bid at one time, the city is still requesting in the bid that one bridge be completed before the second begins to ensure Demopolis Hickory Mill has access in and out of its facility.

The council also approved moving a sidewalk project forward by giving the mayor authorization to sign contracts with an engineering firm. The project is planned to cover a two-budget cycle and is being partially funded through a grant. The phases of the project covered by Thursday’s vote include those in the areas of U.S. Jones and Westside elementary schools.

The downtown monument that was damaged in 2015 also came up for discussion with two contractors providing bids. The bid requires the placement of an obelisk atop the monument as well as other repairs.

The bid was awarded to Doric South for $97,400.

“This is a win-win. The low bid is also a local business,” said Councilman Harris Nelson in his motion to award the bid to Doric South.

These repairs do not include work to the soldier that was once part of the statue. Mayor Laney said those repairs would come before the council at a later date.

Other items discussed by the council included:

• hearing an audit report by Richard LeCroy of LeCroy, Hunter and Company, P.C. The audit was mostly good news for the city as LeCroy reported an increase in revenues and about $700,000 in debt retirement. He also reported the city’s net worth increased over the past year.

“(The city) is definitely going in the right direction and you are to be commended,” he said.

He did say the findings showed a few internal control issues and recommendations were made regarding federal funding awards.  But, overall, he said the city is in sound financial position.

“You are better off than many cities your size,” LeCroy said. “There are cities twice your size that do not have the cash reserves you have.”

• approving an ABC application for a liquor license for The Foscue House restaurant, which is locating at 21333 Hwy. 80 West.

discussing the placement of speed bumps in the area of Fourth Avenue, Floyd Avenue and Fields Street. A resident of that area delivered a petition signed by residents requesting speed bumps, citing that speed bumps along other streets has diverted speedy traffic into their neighborhood.

The departments of Public Safety and Public Works were asked to look into the matter.

• A resident in the Monroe and Chestnut street area said the street there is holding water leading to mosquito problems within the neighborhood. Jones said he was familiar with the problem and there is a water leak that should be repaired prior to any street repairs are made. 

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, June 23 issue of the Demopolis Times.)