- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - The state is contributing another $110,165 to help Lowndes County and the city of Columbus pay for a firing range for Columbus Air Force Base.

In July, Lowndes County supervisors accepted a bid from Edge Construction of $464,318 to build the range, which is designed to support CAFB training missions. They did not, however, officially award the contract until receiving word from the Mississippi Development Authority that more state money would be allocated.

The city and county originally agreed to split the remaining costs of the project after MDA contributed $1.05 million

The size and cost of the project grew $300,000 from its 2012 estimate to $1.7 million after CAFB officials requested an extension of the range’s length from 25 to 100 meters.

The increase meant the city and county would have to each pay $322,709 instead of $156,000.

A day after supervisors accepted Edge Construction’s bid, city councilmen approved paying $203,000 it had already budgeted for the project, but no more than that. That left $119,709 to be found.

Lowndes County Administrator Ralph Billingsley tells The Commercial Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1pI0V7g ) that Edge Construction’s contract will likely be scaled back if city councilmen approve a request to have public works crews clean and grub the range so the contractor will not have to.

Billingsley says the county will likely pay the remaining costs for Edge Construction to complete their portions of the project.

“If they agree, they would be making up for the part of the overage they’re not paying by doing in-kind grubbing,” Billingsley said.

Kevin Stafford of engineering firm Neel-Schaffer, who has been coordinating with MDA on the firing range, said all aspects of the project, including the building, are underway. The range should be completed by the end of the year.

The Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District is installing piping and culverts to go into a ditch beside the range.

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Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com


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