For the second time in the last few months, bids came back higher than the engineer's estimates for the Byrd Avenue sidewalk project, although this time the Mayor and Board of Aldermen voted to approve one of the bids.

Last Tuesday, two proposed bids were submitted to the board including one in the amount of $76,505 from Perry Construction out of Philadelphia, which the board ultimately approved. The engineer's original estimate for the project was $55,394.80. The second bid from Southern States Construction came back at $117,627.21.

Engineer Marty Crowder of Crowder Engineering reminded the board that the project was initially let for bids back in April, with one proposal being submitted in May. The bid at that time was $71,900 and Crowder had recommended it be rejected. This time Crowder advised going with the lowest bidder if they had the money to pay for the project.

Mayor James A. Young and Ward 2 Alderman Jim Fulton said they would both like to see the project completed. Young said that the city currently is experiencing positive revenue over expenses, meaning they could move funds around to pay for the project and recommended moving forward with the plan.

Crowder said the project would include a complete reconstruction of the sidewalk along the east side of Byrd including a handicap ramp and a 42-inch high rail all along the sidewalk, which would include a handrail attached to the safety rail. Crowder said these items were required to make the sidewalk ADA compliant. The project is expected to run the short distance between Beacon and west Myrtle streets.

The project had met with some delay due to the federal ADA requirements. The project was initially tabled in May of 2017 as the board wanted to take a closer look at the $40,000 price tag. At that time, Crowder said the engineering work on the project would be $11,400 and the necessary topographic surveying would cost an additional $2,750, with the work itself proposed to cost an additional $40,000.

According to the board, the Community Development Partnership will also be contributing $25,000 to the project.

The board also unanimously approved a bid from Gregory Companies LLC doing business as Murphree Paving out of Tupelo in the amount of $85,207.80 for a proposed runway paving project at the Philadelphia Municipal Airport. The board received two bids, including one in the amount of $160,638.20 from Dickerson and Bowen for a project that Will Pentecost with Waggoner Engineering said was previously estimated at $120,000.

Pentecost suggested that the board approve the bid from Murphree contingent on the airport getting an Airport Improvement Grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. According to Pentecost, the grant would be a 90-5-5 grant with the FAA contributing 90 percent of the funds, the Mississippi Department of Transportation providing five percent and the city the remaining five percent. Pentecost said because the bid came in well below original estimates, the airport may also be able to use potential grant funds to repair the airport's AWAS equipment.

In other business, the board:

 • Approved the purchase of a 2017 Ford Police Interceptor sedan with lights and siren package for $27,000.

 • Approved increasing the pay rates of Cody Pilgrim and Richard Creekmore with the fire department to $11.13 per hour.