Poplarville board sees progress

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Poplarville Board of Aldermen announced a proposed $7,000,000 truck stop facility that will be Love’s Travel Stop.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 18, they announced that Love’s Corporation and engineers met with the city for an initial design and planning meeting on Thursday, February 6th, at City Hall.

The facility is set to be on a 12-acre plot near the U.S. Interstate 59 Poplarville/Wiggins exit south of Highway 26, and will offer amenities such as food from national restaurant chains like Subway, Arby’s, and Carl’s Jr., as well as trucking supplies; a tire shop, showers, and RV dump stations.

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The proposed facility will have eight automobile pumps, 76 over night parking stops for big truck parking. It will use the whole 12 acres, Poplarville Mayor Brad Necaise said. He added that the land is currently under contract, but the sale has not closed as of yet.

“We at city hall are very optimistic about the estimated seven million dollar proposed development Love’s Travel Center has brought to the table,” Necaise said.

“A Love’s development of this caliber is a win in many ways.  The travel center will come with approximately 35 full-time employment opportunities for residents, positive impact on tax revenues for the city, and infrastructure improvements to the Poplarville/Wiggins exit.”

Necaise said that Love’s is ranked #9 on Forbe’s Top 10 list of privately held companies.

He said the family owned and operated business is in perfect alignment with the community due to their values, charitable giving, and company culture.

“We are excited about this endeavor and with a company of this magnitude.”

The board also awarded a bid for grounds keeping service at Forest Lawn Cemetery and passed the motion that Professional Probation Services will now be collecting probation fees subject to board attorney Martin Smith’s review of contract and approval.

The Forest Lawn Cemetery bid was originally awarded to the lowest bidder, Robert Crowe of RLC Lawn care, after discussion about previous service with the city.

The board questioned equipment failure on previous dates of service and an instance of bags of leaves being left at the cemetery for a period of days before being removed.

Crowe said that there had been two breakdowns during the contract on a previous cemetery job with the city but the job was completed at end of the day. He told the board that was always an issue with lawn care.

When answers were given, the board approved Crowe’s bid and awarded him the contract but after he left the building, he returned to address the board.

When Necaise acknowledged him, Crowe told the board that he wanted to withdraw his bid because he did not feel welcome and didn’t want to do business in that way.

The board accepted his withdrawal and a motion was passed to resend the award. At that point Sharp was awarded the contract because they were next lowest bid.

This was the second round of bids for the cemetery, because the previous bids were all thrown out after being opened and it was discovered that not all were bid on the exact same services.

(Upon speaking with) Crowe the next day, he said, “I feel that when they threw out the bids the first time, I had one and I felt I was disserviced because everyone knew what I bid. Some of the bids for this time were lowered and I had to lower my bid even more. It is hard to make money that way.”

In other business, the board approved Professional Probation Services to be their agent in collecting probation fees, subject to board attorney Martin Smith approving the contract.

Professional Probation Services also handle Picayune’s collections and fees are collected from offenders with no money owed by the city.

Motions were passed to approve the following:

— A credit card processing system for the city and allow payment of water bills online and debit card processing.

— To investigate a potential partnership with Court Collections, Inc. for warrant aged collections.

— To pursue a sizeable grant for city signs to disseminate information digitally.

— To allow a city expenditure for entertaining city guests of $25 which will be drawn from the Legal Advertising budget.

— To have a decision on declaring the property of 109 E. Orr St. derelict at the next meeting.

— To have an allowance for Necaise to attend legislative and MML meetings in Jackson on Feb. 26, for meals and room.

— Adjourned to the next meeting on Tuesday, March, 4th.