By Royce Armstrong (228) 238-8005 With state and federal deadlines fast approaching and subjecting the county to costly fines, the George County Board of Supervisors put the question back before the court. The question is whether the County may re advertise for proposals to finish cleaning up the Hurricane Zeta storm debris. It went to the judge in the form of a resolution unanimously approved by the Board. In the case of Holliday Construction, LLC vs George County, Circuit Court Judge Kathy Jackson declared the December debris removal contract between the County and Custom Tree Care to be null and void, ordering the County to reconsider all other December 4, 2020 bidders. Judge Jackson, acting as an appellate in the matter, said she had reviewed the County’s request for proposal (RFP) and the Mississippi Board of Contractors’ Opinion, concluding a Certificate of Responsibility (license) was required for each qualified bidder. In the resolution adopted last Friday (May 7), the Board responded to the Court Order stating the Supervisors, the County Engineer, the county Purchasing Clerk, and the County Attorney all did not know a Certificate of Responsibility was required for storm debris removal because it is not mentioned in any of the Board of Contractors official documentation or the website. Since the court has demanded each qualified bidder have a Certificate of Responsibility, and those certificates were not a part of the December RFPs, the Board is rejecting all the December RFPs. Also, because of “time and cost restraints the Board must restrict the remaining Hurricane Zeta work to be done to that work, which is absolutely necessary, and, therefore, must also amend the new request for proposals accordingly.” If that is not satisfactory for the judge, the Board “urge(s) the Court to convey exactly what the Court wants the Board to do as costly state and federal deadlines loom.” To be eligible for FEMA and MEMA assistance that will pay a combined 87- 1/2 percent of the cost, the clean up work is to be completed within six months of the storm being declared a federal disaster. President Trump made that declaration at the end of December. Further, if the debris dump sites are not cleaned up within that period, the county could be subject to fines of up to $25,000 per day by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). It is almost a certainty the county will now have to ask for time extensions according to Communications Director Ken Flanagan. If the judge approves the County soliciting new RFPs within the next week, it will take at least 30 days for ads to run, bids to be received, opened, and one approved, Flanagan said

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