News Briefs

Traffic Signal Delayed

Another 30-day work extension has been put on the traffic signal located at the Highland Colony Parkway and Old Agency Parkway intersection.

In September, Ridgeland officials were waiting for CSpire to finish relocating fiber optic cables before the city’s project could be completed, so the first 30-day extension to the project was added.

“We had to put a time extension on the contractor’s (agreement),” Chris Bryson, city engineer said in a previous Sun article. “There were some items that he could not begin work on until CSpire completed fiber relocation on Highland Colony Parkway.”

Although CSpire’s work is unrelated to the traffic signal project, it’s still impacting the city’s timeline. The phone company is extending its connections along Highland Colony Parkway.

“We got the (original) 30-day extension but then had to make sure we got our work done, too,” Ridgeland Public Works Director Mike McCollum said.

The city’s contractor for the $261,000 traffic signal project is B&B Electrical, and the light is in operation. The project was supposed to take a total of 210 days.

“The work that’s remaining is our communication between the signal and traffic management center at city hall,” Bryson said.

The city’s communication with the traffic signal is simply for maintenance and operations purposes.

“We can adjust settings and observe what’s going on to ensure it’s functioning properly,” Bryson said. “It’s just for maintenance.”

“The intersection has warranted a signal for some time,” said McCollum. “It was a matter of coming up with funding.”

According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) Web site, Highland Colony Parkway has a traffic count of 11,000 vehicles per day.

Old Agency Parkway intersects Highland Colony directly south of the Natchez Trace Parkway overpass and is the next road south of Old Agency Road. Old Agency Parkway has a peak traffic count of 1,100.

The project is being paid for by the city.

“There are no federal funds,” McCollum said.

 

TIF Hearing Dec. 4

Madison County will be holding a public hearing on December 4 for a TIF (tax increment financing) district in Ridgeland. The district will be for a new automotive dealership currently located in Jackson.

“My client (Richie Management Services) is proposing to purchase eight acres and relocate Audi, Land Rover and Jaguar dealerships to Frontage Road in Ridgeland,” Chris Gouras of Gouras and Associates said.

The request is for the city and county to establish a TIF district and authorize bonds up to $2.3 million.

“That project will represent about $20 million in new investment in Madison County,” Gouras said during a November county board meeting. “It proposes the city and county pledge half of the increased taxes from the project to service the debt on TIF bonds.”

Currently, the property generates $16 a year in ad valorem taxes for the county and $26 a year for the school district.

“Upon completion of the project, we estimate the county’s taxes will increase to about $33,000 a year, and the school district to about $55,000. Those dealerships currently employ about 55 people. The average salary is about $55,000 to $60,000 dollars,” Gouras said.

If the county approves the TIF, the bonds would reimburse the developers up to $2.3 million after the project is built out, according to Gouras.

Once the business is built and in operation for a year, the county tax assessor will evaluate the property to determine how much the property’s worth has increased.

The remainder of the funds will go to the city and county general funds, and the increase in taxes will go to the school district. None of the increased increment can be used to offset any debt.

The board of supervisors approved Gouras’ request for a public hearing on Monday, December 4.

Ridgeland held their public hearing on Tuesday, November 21.

“It went very well,” Mayor Gene McGee said. “The presentation went well. One person spoke briefly in opposition.”

The Ridgeland board approved the TIF following the public hearing.

 

County Line Rehab

The County Line Road rehab project will be underway soon. The city of Ridgeland has until August to complete the project.

“We’re partnering with the city of Jackson,” Ridgeland Public Works Director Mike McCollum said. “It’s got a $1.35 million cost for the project. We’re going to go in and rehab County Line from Wheatley Street to Ridgewood Road.”

The project includes a repair, mill, overlay and restripe of the road and upgrades to traffic signals. The Ridgeland board of aldermen awarded the project’s construction to Dickerson and Bowen.

A mill-and-overlay project grinds and removes the top two layers of asphalt with a large milling machine, then new layers are coated over the remaining tarmac.

The project is a joint venture with the city of Jackson, since County Line marks the border between the two cities and Madison and Hinds counties. The $1.35 million cost will be split equally between the two municipalities.

The Madison County Board of Supervisors pledged $675,000 to the city of Ridgeland for the project. The city of Jackson has secured the other $675,000.

According to Madison County Engineer Dan Gaillet, the county pledged the funds to Ridgeland in June 2016 through a memorandum of understanding (MOU). After the county promised to pay for Ridgeland’s half, the city had two years to complete the project.

“We were given a two-year time period from the time the MOU was approved to complete the project,” said Mike McCollum, Ridgeland public works director, in a previous Sun article.

McCollum said everything up to the $675,000 amount will be reimbursed by Madison County, “so we’ll just send them receipts and they’ll pay up to that amount.”

 

911 Software Updated

Madison, Ridgeland and the county sheriff’s department should be receiving a new 911 software system within the next six months.

“We have an outdated system that’s over 15 years old,” Minor Norman, Madison County emergency management director, said. “It’s outdated software running it, so it’s not supported by the vendors anymore.”

Norman said the system is up and running now, but any major shut down could mean the emergency management department couldn’t get it running again.

“It’d pretty much be shut down… We’ve been looking at the process of getting a new system, and it actually started before I even got here (this spring). But we’ve been working on it really hard.”

Once the emergency management department orders the new software, Norman said it could take six months to fully implement it.

“It’s something we really need to work toward… If we have a lightning strike or something, we could lose a city.”

The department has received a couple of proposals that Norman said are being considered, and he hopes to choose one of the options before the next board meeting, allowing the board to have final input on the decision.

“We have visited other agencies to see what they’re operating.”

The cost of implementing the software would be approximately $1 million for Ridgeland, Madison, the county sheriff’s department, and Canton.

“It’s 911 money collected from the cities and the county,” Norman said. “It’s going to be the same operating system we have right now… (But) this would be the new, next generation 911 system.”

“They are at the end of life of that software,” Shelton Vance, Madison County administrator, said.

The Madison County board of supervisors unanimously approved Norman’s request to move forward with the process and choose a proposal.

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