McComb officials said Tuesday they expect work on street overlays to start in July.
Public Works Director Alice Barnes and Neel-Schaffer project manager Keith Lott gave an update during a Tuesday night work session detailing the next steps with the project.
Mayor Quordiniah Lockley said the process of overlaying roads is not quick or easy, so he, along with Lott, stressed the need for patience.
“If you don’t know, government moves slow,” Lockley said. “As we go through this process, we want to assure our citizens that we are concerned about our streets and that before the summer is over, you will see some streets being overlaid here in the city of McComb.”
The state awarded $3.2 million in bond money to the city for the work. Lockley said not every street can be repaired with the funding, so the city wants to spread the money as far as it can to the streets that need repair the most.
“Hopefully, for those that have complained about certain streets, those streets will be overlaid during this time,” the mayor said.
Lott said he and Barnes got with every selectman to build a list of problem roads in their wards, and then Neel-Schaffer sent out workers to inspect the road and assess the costs of repairs.
“We are continually working. We are about 70 to 75% through all of the lists,” he said. “We anticipate being complete with that list of each selectman's (ward) by June 5.”
When Neel-Schaffer finishes the street assessments and cost estimates, Lott said Barnes and the selectmen need to get together and build the final list.
“I want to wait until we have a final list before we plan,” he said. “Hopefully, we can do all the streets everyone has asked for. That’s what we aren’t quite sure of yet.”
Lott said the process hinges on the final list, adding that once they have the list, the board can begin advertising for companies to do the work and buy the asphalt.
“I would also like to ask you that either May 26th or June the 9th, that you would give Mrs. Barnes the authority to advertise the project,” he said.
The bond money that the city was awarded was divided equally between selectmen, but Barnes said some wards are in more need than others, suggesting that leftover money for each selectman could be used to supplement more roads in the wards in need.
“In your ward, if you didn’t quite go over ... then we would appreciate it if we could look at some of the other wards and allow them to pull some of their streets out and get a collective total so that we can spend the money the best way possible. Get more bang for our buck,” she said.
Lott stressed that the summer is the perfect time to do overlay work because of the heat and relatively drier weather, so he wants to begin the process as soon as possible.
Selectman Ronnie Brock asked Lott why Neel-Schaffer wants to go with asphalt over concrete, and he said the price points are key. The plan Lott built with Barnes was for them to do the overlays as cheaply as possible to spread their bond money as far as they can.
Selectman Donovan Hill asked board attorney Angela Cockerham if the city could use the bond money to buy an overlaying machine themselves.
Cockerham looked up the original resolution and determined that it does not specify the purchase of equipment, so the board could not use it to purchase the machine.