Aldermen meeting: Officials green light sewer workPublished 10:50am Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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A half million dollar sewer repair project received the green light from city alderman at Tuesday’s board meeting, construction projects re-continue after inclement weather and spring is in the air for city bicycle racing enthusiasts.
Mike McKenzie of WGK Engineering requested the board approve funding for the initial stages of city sewer repairs in Ward Three, a project estimated to cost $550,000 after reimbursement from a block grant that would pay for 50 percent of the work. The project will update, improve and replace sewer lines as needed.
The first stage of the work will involve cleaning and examining existing sewer lines via video to ascertain their condition.
“Some of these sewers haven’t seen any repairs since the 50s,” said Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates. “That’s how long it has been. You can imagine the shape they are in”
The board voted 7-0 to approve the request.
By the March 18 board of aldermen’s meeting, McKenzie, who has been consulting with the public works and water departments, promised to have maps and sketches of new sewer and water lines for previously annexed areas of the city. At this point, the city is determining what areas to prioritize, said Ward Six Alderman David Phillips.
Various construction projects that went dormant for weeks due to the cold weather are now back on track, including the safe walk to school pathway work and construction at American Railcar Inc. said McKenzie.
Board approval for the use of the streets of Brookhaven for the 13th annual Grand Prix bicycle race came quickly after event organizer and bicycle racing enthusiast Frank Moak explained ways the city would benefit from the spring event.
“This is a race that brings in anywhere from 200-250 people from out of town. Last year, I think there were only a couple local residents involved in the race. Everyone else travels to Brookhaven for the race,” Moak noted regarding the three-day event.
Phillips cited a historical bump in city revenue as one of the race’s benefits to the town. Phillips suggested approximately $125,000 in revenue occurs from the event alone.
“This is a great event. It raises money for charity. It also brings in people from out of town who will need hotels and will spend money at restaurants and within the city,” Phillips said.
The race will take begin Friday, May 2, with a twilight race throughout the streets of downtown Brookhaven. Cyclists will race along bordered-off sections of Cherokee Street, Whitworth Avenue and Church and Jackson Streets at 7 p.m. The route will begin and end at the Haven Theatre on East Cherokee Street.
Building Inspector for the Public Works Department Chip Gennaro proposed ways to modernize department files, using recent moves in that direction by the circuit clerk’s office as a starting point.
“We need a way to store data such as permits, variances and inspections so that we can access them in the future,” Gennaro said. “Now, we pretty much go off of memory. If we could have a way to store all this information and be able to access it in a convenient manner, it would actually save money in the long run.”
Gennaro said he was in the process of examining several related computer software systems to report back to the board at a later date.
“I suggest the board take the time to check out a webinar that gives you an idea of what I’m looking at for this project,” he said.
Despite a lack of a vote on the matter, board members considered Gennaro’s proposal to be a timely one.
“Sounds like something out of the 21st century,” Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes said. “I think it’s a great idea and we will certainly take it under advisement.”
In personnel matters, the board accepted the retirement of Roy Lee Dixon from the street department with 12 years of service. The board then approved a wage increase for a solid waste department employee who recently obtained his commercial driver’s license.
In other business, the board:
• Received and awarded off-road diesel bids.
• Approved the minutes of the February meeting.
• Approved salaried payroll and transfer of funds.
• Approved expenses incurred for a airport conference in Tunica May 14-16 for the airport manager.
• Approved payment to Sample Hicks and Associates Inc. in the amount of $8,000 for work on the sewer improvement project.
• Approved expenses incurred for a rope rescue class March 17-20 for two city firefighters.
The board will meet again at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18.