Sardis Roof Repair

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2008

Supervisors balk at request to foot bill for Sardis roof repair

By Billy Davis and Jason Mattox

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After roof repairs to a new justice center in Sardis totaled almost $10,000, Sardis Mayor Rusty Dye wants to use North Panola hospital funds to pay for the work.

Supervisors on Tuesday heard the request from Dye but balked at the idea, saying the remaining hospital funds belong solely to the county. Any repairs to the jointly owned building should be evenly shared, they told the mayor.

Dye and county supervisors worked together in past months to renovate a doctors’ complex for use as the county’s justice court office and the town’s police department. The facility was named the James Appleton Justice Center after the longtime justice court judge.

After the roof repairs were done, Sardis Police Chief John Still asked supervisors at their September 2 meeting to foot half the bill. But Dye said Tuesday that Still erred by asking the county to pay half the bill when the hospital funds could be used to pay the entire bill.

Responding to Dye, Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock informed supervisors that approximately $70,000 had remained in hospital funds when he wrote a check to the City of Sardis for its 40 percent of the 60/40 share.

Pitcock’s county office oversees the remaining hospital funds, which are held in a bank CD.

“My understanding is that the CD belongs to Panola County because Sardis received its share,” Pitcock told Dye and city clerk Odessa Johnson as supervisors listened.

Supervisors on Tuesday viewed a stack of receipts totaling $18,663 for work done to the justice center in recent weeks. Six bills require payment for new lighting, office furniture, electrical work and other work, representing half of the cost, but the roof repair bill totaling $9,925.40 represents the entire cost.

State bid laws require a request for bids for expenses of $5,000 or more, meaning the City of Sardis would normally request bids for the roof repair. But the work was performed in two phases because additional work was required after flashing was repaired, Dye told The Panolian.    

The stack of receipts includes two identical receipts from Otis Wolfe Roofing of Sardis, each totaling $4,962.70, for labor and material.

After city clerk Odessa Johnson described the receipts, board president Gary Thompson raised the first objection to the request for payment.

“Why are you asking us to pay for the whole roof (repair)? We’re supposed to pay 50/50,” he told the mayor and city clerk.

But Dye countered that the remaining hospital funds can be used in the hospital district, which includes Sardis.

“That is north Panola County hospital money that belongs to north Panola County,” he said.

“We spent the South Panola hospital money all over the county,” Pitcock replied.

Dye eventually offered an olive branch to supervisors. “I don’t want to disagree with the county,” he said. “Y’all help me out all the time.”

As the discussion wound down, Supervisor James Birge made a motion that supervisors table the issue until their first meeting in October. The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

The discussion did not stop, however, even after Dye and Johnson departed the meeting.

Supervisors asked board attorney Bill McKenzie to retrieve a copy of the inter-local agreement for them to view. McKenzie returned with copies, and supervisors agreed that page four of the document stipulates a 50/50 share in cost for “major repairs” to the building. Roof repair is included in the list of repairs.