A bid by a Philadelphia company was determined to be the lowest and best for construction of a new $1.6 million emergency operations center off Chestnut Street, but the Board of Supervisors said Monday they were not quiet ready to issue a notice to proceed on the project.

Emergency Management Director Jeff Mayo said Tyler Construction Group's overall bid of $618,900 appeared to be the lowest and best for the base construction of the EOC, along with the five alternates or additions such as a safe room.

Tyler's overall bid was under budget estimates.

Supervisors did not officially accept the bid, noting that there were four other decisions that needed to be made before proceeding with the project.

The first addressed fire protection.

Monday, Supervisors rejected the only bid received, $26,835 from Hi-Tek Fire Sprinklers, for fire protection at the EOC because it was above estimates, Mayo said.

Supervisors authorized Mayo to seek two quotes for fire protection in hopes that a lower one would be submitted.

The county also wants to finalize its contract with W. G. Yates and Sons Construction Co., for construction management services on the EOC project, before accepting the construction bid.

The total cost for in-kind services provided on the project by the county road department for such things as site work is also yet to be determined.

What's more, County Administrator Benjie Coats and Mayo are finalizing the overall cost the county will incur in equipping the EOC with such things as new 911 answering equipment, dispatching consoles, servers, fiber optics and other technology.

It was the consensus of supervisors to postpone accepting the EOC construction bids until those details were finalized.

The five alternate bids on the project included the addition of a safe room, envelope or outer shell upgrade, secondary roof, cabinets and alcove.

McLain Plumbing had the low bid of $84,770 for the base mechanical work and two alternates. Barnett Mechanical and Electric bid $117,500 for the base mechanical work and one alternate.

Ratcliff Electrical Services Inc. had the low bid for base electrical and an alternate for a generator at $165,524. The only other bid was $180,000 from Webster Electric.

The EOC will house 911 communications, administrative offices, a so-called "war room," support space and storage.

Once bids are accepted, construction is expected to take 180 days.

The county was awarded two matching grants to aid in funding the new facility including a $976,800 presented by the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, on behalf of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

In addition, the county received a $233,267 federal matching grant to harden the exterior wall, roof, windows and doors.

In an effort to fund the county's matching share of the new EOC without a tax increase, Supervisors are working to refinance the remainder of its $4 million in park debt along with other existing debt in the sanitation department and elsewhere.

The county plans to issue up to $1.5 million in general obligation bonds to match its share of the project and to fund the necessary new equipment to make it functional.

The EOC will help officials coordinate emergency services across various agencies and departments for the entire county from the one location.