Planned $3.4M building in Diamondhead raising questions of cost

The Diamondhead Water and Sewer District has occupied the building it currently calls home for decades. But now the district is looking to build a new home. (Photo source: WLOX)
The Diamondhead Water and Sewer District has occupied the building it currently calls home for decades. But now the district is looking to build a new home. (Photo source: WLOX)

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Does the Diamondhead Water and Sewer District need a $3.4 million administrative and maintenance building to run its operation? That's the question many Diamondhead residents are asking after the water and sewer district opened contractor bids Tuesday for construction of the 17,000 square foot building.

The Diamondhead Water and Sewer District has occupied the building it currently calls home for decades. But now the district is looking to build a new home.

"I think it's a little overboard," said Diamondhead Resident Burt Taylor.

Architectural plans submitted to the Building Department call for lunch and laundry rooms, an administrative break room, locker rooms with showers for men and women, and an engineering library. And all that is in addition to office space and maintenance areas for work crews.

"If we have enough money to have all of these luxuries in this building, then our bill is too high. And if we don't, is my bill going to go up?" Taylor said.

"The question is, is all that necessary? We've got to cut back to what's absolutely necessary," said Paul Montjoy.

Paul Montjoy is a name very familiar around Diamondhead. He's a former general manager of the Property Owner's Association and currently sits on the board. He said he's heard the water and sewer district already has the funding in place to pay for the new building.

"It's an administrative building, primarily. It doesn't improve the water quality, or the supply, or the sewer quality. They obviously had to overcharge us if they have the money," said Montjoy.

Bids for construction were opened Tuesday afternoon, but no contract was awarded. The water and sewer district is a separate entity operating independent of the city.

"So we have no control over what they proposed to do or what they do," said City Councilman Joseph Lopez.

But some city leaders would like to see the water district occupy the bottom floor of the city hall building to create a one-stop-shop for residents.

Diamondhead city leaders say they plan to make the city hall option available to district leaders at the district's next board meeting September 4th.

WLOX News tried to interview the Water and Sewer District's General Manager Mike Collard, but he declined our request.

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