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Demopolis council to bid paving projects; approves Rumble on the River

The Demopolis City Council has voted to move forward with bidding out a paving project that would cover multiple streets.

Demopolis Projects Manager Mike Baker presented the council with options for three different bids ranging from approximately $3 million through $5 million.

Following a discussion on those options, the council opted to bid out the $3 million project, but included the moving forward with the engineering for the streets involved in the $4 million in case bids come in lower or if the city should recieve CDBG funding to include toward the costs of the project.

The city also approved borrowing the $3 million through Trustmark Bank.

Some council members said they felt uncomfortable with the $5 million option.

“I’m more comfortable with the lower amount and perhaps looking at the $4 million (option), but $5 million is too much for too long,” said Councilman Bill Meador prior to the vote.

Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood will be performing the engineering for the projects.

Baker said the project would include paving projects in each of the city’s five districts.

The council also approved providing $150,000 to Whitfield Regional Hospital to assist in expanding its ICU beds from seven to eight. The funds are available through the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, Economic, and Safety (CARES) Act from which the city has received $325,000.

The hospital has been working in recent months to improve its ICE and Emergency Department to accommodate an increase in patients, according to WRH CEO Doug Brewer.

“It’s not the pandemic driving this, it’s that we are seeing more patients here. We have patients now that we have not been seeing for a long time,” Brewer said.

The council also approved a request by the Park and Recreation Department to allow for an entertainment district in the area of the City Landing on June 13-14 as the city is set to host the Rumble on the River boat race.

According to Park and Rec Director Walker Reynolds the event is expected to bring in hundreds of visitors and that the number of participants has already increased from a year ago.

The council did express concerns regarding safety and social distancing. Once it was determined that there is an excess of space as compared to the number of people expected, the council approved the entertainment district request. Reynolds added that there will be signage and that a number of volunteers will be on hand to help enforce social distancing guidelines.

City Clerk Sam Gross was given the go-ahead to let bids for 45 new computers for the city. The upgrade will be part of the 2021 capital budget.

“We’ve put this off for several years, but now we’re to the point where we have to do it,” Councilman Harris Nelson said.

The council approved the computer upgrades at an amount not to exceed $64,985.

Extending water and sewer lines to the Nazareth Church on Powe Road was approved at a cost of $14,600. The project will be funded through the CARES Act.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 18, 5:15 p.m., at Rooster Hall. The public is invited to attend.