DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Ward One Alderman Randy Belcher (from left), Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes and Ward Six Alderman David Phillips listen to the discussion of the city water and sewer project Tuesday night.
DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Ward One Alderman Randy Belcher (from left), Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes and Ward Six Alderman David Phillips listen to the discussion of the city water and sewer project Tuesday night.

More areas added: Water/sewer project grant sought

Published 11:58am Wednesday, May 7, 2014

City aldermen voted 7-0 Tuesday night to include three more areas in a current water and sewer service expansion plan, accepting recommendations by WGK Engineering and giving them the go ahead to begin surveying.

Aldermen will now add the Bratton and Calcote trailer parks on Ozark Lane and Crooked Lane to their list of service sites, as well as a stretch of property on Funches Street and Browns Loop. The project would provide service for close to 50 homes and trailers.

Funding for the project will come from a community development block grant provided by the Mississippi Development Authority. The board of supervisors agreed on Monday to apply for the grant on the city’s behalf. Brookhaven has a block grant already and a government entity can only have one at a time, so it was necessary for the county to apply.

The city is willing to match half of the $826,000 project, with grant funds hopefully paying for the remaining $413,000, according to City Clerk Michael Jinks.

“The most you can apply for is $600,000,” Allen Laird, planner for the Southwest Mississippi Development District, had told the supervisors at their meeting on Monday.

The aldermen voted 7-0 on both a match resolution and then again on a memorandum of agreement. The grant application will now be taken to MDA by Laird.

An interlocal agreement, often used by separate government agencies to reach a common budgetary goal, may be required, according to City Attorney Joe Fernald.

“We are paying for it, we are just doing it through the county,” Ward Six Alderman David Phillips said of the CDBG application.

“We expect to hear back as early as July,” Laird told the aldermen.

The Mississippi Legislature, in its session earlier this year, approved a 2 percent tourism tax for the city of Brookhaven. The tax, to be levied on all area hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts will now be put on a referendum.

At Tuesday’s meeting, board aldermen voted to hold the special election on the tax on July 8, over a month past the federal primary election on June 3. If approved, the tax would become effective July 14. The tourism tax, expected to provide the city promotional funding, will require 60 percent of voters’ approval.

“We chose the 14th of July, a week after the vote, to be sure there is enough time for the election to be certified,” said Jinks.

In other business, the aldermen approved a bid from Southeastern Tank and Tower to repaint the Ingram Street water tower to be in compliance with the health department for close to $215,000.

As outside companies come into Brookhaven, including telecom companies, and dig into the ground to bury cable, municipal water, sewer and cable lines could be threatened, officials said.

With this in mind, the public works department put together a “street boring and trenching right away ordinance” for the board aldermen to consider at April aldermen’s meeting. Board aldermen voted unanimously to approve the ordinance Tuesday night. Public Works Director Steve Moreton, handed the ordinance over to Keith Lewis, supervisor of the Water Department, to oversee.

“All revenue that might come from this will go towards the water department, who will be overseeing this ordinance,” Moreton said.

In other meeting action, Ward Three Alderman Mary Wilson requested a motion to recognize the service of former city officials D.W. Maxwell, Les Baumgarner and Dorsey Cameron that the board approved.

“I think we should honor the service of these men, for all that they have done for the city,” said Wilson.

In personnel matters, the board approved the hire of Michael Allen Stogner as a certified police officer with five years of experience. Two employees were hired as part time workers for the cemetery department.

The board also:

• Approved the reappointment of Willie “Doc” Harrison to the Recreation Department Board effective July 1.

• Approved the decision made by the board of adjustments to allow a carport addition to the east side of property located at 675 Zetus Road.

• Approved the decision made by the board of adjustments to allow a special use exception for a church to purchase and build on parcel located at 1107 Union St.

• Approved April payrolls and transfer of funds.

• Received and awarded off-road diesel bids.

The board will meet again Tuesday, May 20.