Santa Rosa loses contract for standing dead tree removal and disposal

Published 7:34 pm Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In an emergency meeting Monday morning, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors rejected the contract with Santa Rosa Tree and Lawn Services to remove and dispose of standing dead trees in the county.

The board had voted at last week’s meeting to enter into the contract with Santa Rosa, because Santa Rosa had provided the lowest bid for the work to be done. However, the company was unable to obtain a performance and payment bond in the time allowed by the contract. The contract required that the bonds be produced within 72 hours of signing of the contract.

The board determined that a bid from HSI was the next lowest bid at $1.12 million. The board listed some of the reasons for accepting the HSI bid as their ability to secure bond, their number of crews and amount of equipment available, the financial ability of the company and the number of previous contracts with the county that were completed successfully and on time.

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District IV Supervisor Robert Thigpen said that he had noticed the marked dead trees around the county, but said he has also seen trees that are “dead at the top and green at the bottom” and wondered why those trees are not marked.

District V Supervisor and Board President Bettye Stockstill asked, “How dead is dead?”

Federal Emergency Management Agency Debris Specialist Carl Sherer said trees should be at least 95 percent dead to qualify as a standing dead tree. Sherer also said they will continue looking for and marking standing dead trees until the contract deadline of June 30.

It was mentioned in discussions following the meeting that the Reverse-911 program was not working. However, in a phone interview Tuesday morning, a representative for County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the program is up and running and started calling numbers Monday evening.

Lumpkin said on Monday the program consists of 20 phone lines that will call all numbers in the county with a one-and-a-half minute message about the dead tree removal and procedures to sign up for rights of entry. The program will only talk to a live line and if the call yields a busy signal or answering machine, the number will be thrown back into the pool and tried again later.