- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Jackson City Council has voted against awarding a $15 million contract to a company that partnered on the project with a political ally of Mayor Tony Yarber.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (http://on.thec-l.com/1OC6O0F) the contract is to remove 305 tons of sewer sludge from the city’s Savannah Street Wastewater Treatment Plant by a Dec. 31, 2017. That’s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deadline to remove the bio-solids as part of the city’s consent decree with the federal government to upgrade its wastewater treatment.

The council voted 3-1 Thursday against approving the contract for Denali-SGE. Jackson businessman Socrates Garrett, who was a major supporter of Yarber during his campaign for mayor, was part of the group seeking the contract.

Council President Melvin Priester Jr. was the only one of the four council members present to vote to award the contract to Denali-Socrates Garrett Enterprise. Councilmen Ashby Foote, Tyrone Hendrix and Charles Tillman voted against awarding the contract to Denali-SGE.

Although he voted for the contract, Priester said the council has the right not to approve a contract.

“I think it’s political retribution for my support of Mayor Yarber,” Garrett said after the vote. “I don’t think they want to see Socrates Garrett do any work with the city.”

Garrett said his company only had a small part of the contract. Denali already has a $10 million contract for first phase of work at the Savannah Street Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Hendrix said during the meeting that the council’s role is to make sure the integrity of the process of awarding contracts is protected.

The vote came after representatives from Denali-SGE and Synagro-Fisher, the other company that submitted a proposal, made presentations before the council.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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