Columbus City Council votes to withdraw FEMA application

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Tuesday night, the Columbus City Council voted to withdraw its FEMA application for Sim Scott Park.

The city was eligible to be reimbursed over $1 million in total.

City Attorney Jeff Turnage made the announcement after the city council went into executive session for close to an hour. Mississippi state law says any public project over $50,000 is required to have requests for proposals. The Sim Scott project cost about $900,000 after it was destroyed in 2019.

Documents obtained by WCBI show no RFP that can be found for portions of the rebuild. Mayor Keith Gaskin says he contacted the State Auditor’s office on December 5th when the irregularities were found.

“We’re looking for some receipts for some of the purchases that were made to rebuild the Sim Scott building,” he says. “There were some questions about the state bidding process that we’re trying to get clarification on to make sure that everything was done properly there. So, those are the major things.”

The mayor said it is possible the city might reconsider if they receive a favorable opinion from the state auditor’s office but is not optimistic that will happen in time.

“It was just a lot of trying to pull this information together,” he says. “You have to be so precise and correct when you’re dealing with FEMA.”

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