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Aldermen question change in recreation budget

Additional funds for the Brookhaven Recreation Department metwith hesitation Tuesday as city officials considered a budgetrevision for the current year.

Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron and Ward 2’s Terry Batesquestioned a $50,000 increase for the department in the budgetrevision that was to be adopted at last night’s meeting. Batesasked about $350,000 that was in this year’s budget for a communitycenter and whether it would be in next year’s budget.

“We need to go over this, because I haven’t seen any of this,”Bates said about the budget revision.

Mayor Bill Godbold and other aldermen said the budget revisionwas a routine matter that needed to be done in August. The revisionreflects increases and decreases in revenue and expenditures as ofJune 30.

“This is something we do every year,” Godbold said.

Ward 4 Alderman John Roberts suggested the board approve therevision with the exception of the recreation department. AlthoughBates wanted time to study the revision, Cameron agreed withRoberts’ suggestion.

“The rest of it looks good except this,” Cameron said.

Aldermen said the budget revision information was sent to boardmembers about five days ago.

A vote on the budget revision was held until the end of themeeting when it was approved with the exception of the recreationdepartment increase. Bates did not elaborate on his concerns afterthe meeting, indicating that recreation department officials wouldbe asked to come to the next meeting.

With the recreation department increase, the budget revisioncalled for a total $76,456 in the General Fund budget. That is acombination of a slight $3,706 decrease in expected revenue and a$72,750 increase in expenditures.

“This can be handled without any problem,” said City Clerk IrisRudman, who was out of town Tuesday, in a letter to aldermen.

In other budgets, the Water-Sewer Fund was expecting a $23,800increase and revenue and a $11,100 decrease in expenditures. TheSolid Waste Department was forecast to take in $5,270 more than itwill spend.

The Airport Fund was expected to spend $2,551 more than it willreceive in revenue this year. Rudman said that was acceptable.

In another budget matter, perhaps proving money doesn’t grow ontrees, Roberts’ request to have a tree at 509 Storm Ave. cut downwas delayed because the city has no more money for the service.

“We’ve got several trees people want us to cut but we don’t havethe money,” Godbold said.

Officials said funds for tree cutting, plus other money addedduring the year, had been spent. When tree-cutting resumes, Robertssaid the Storm Avenue tree should be a priority because it is indanger of falling on some nearby houses.

AIRPORT ORDINANCE

Aldermen are reviewing new rules to govern the MunicipalAirport after City Attorney Joe Fernald presented the ordinancelast night. The board is expected to act on the ordinance in twoweeks.

Fernald said the ordinance allows the city to assumeairport operation duties and establishes an advisory board ofpilots.

One change from the previous rules is that advisoryboard pilots are not required to live in the city. Fernald saidboard members may live in the county.

Some members living outside the city limits was one ofseveral reasons city officials cited in their June move to abolishthe Airport Board.

BIGGER BURGER KING

Aldermen voiced their support for a larger Burger King at therestaurant’s site on Brookway Boulevard.

“Basically, we want to demolish and relocate the Burger King onthe existing site,” said Architect Glen Bell told cityofficials.

Bell detailed plans to fill in part of the large drainage ditchthat runs by the restaurant. Drainage would not be negativelyaffected.

The changes would allow the restaurant to increase parking andseating count, update to the franchise’s new image specificationsand eliminate some traffic congestion caused the current drivethrough situation, Bell said. Location of entrances would notchange.

Aldermen approved the planned changes on the restaurant’sproperty, but Godbold asked Bell, as a courtesy, to have CityEngineer Carl Ray Furr review the plans.

NO HANDBILLS

In response to Roberts’ earlier complaints, Fernald saidhe is still working on an ordinance to prohibit distribution ofhandbills, flyers, advertisements and similar items in the city.The attorney, though, expressed concerns about not restrictingelection-related materials or violating Constitutional free speechprovisions.

“You have to be very careful,” Fernaldsaid.

Roberts suggested expanding and applying downtownhandbill prohibition rules city wide. Fernald continued hiscautious tone, warning of possible election-related complaints andthe need for strict enforcement.

Building Inspector Steve Moreton said the problem seemsto be getting worse.

“I think it’s more people putting them out than everbefore,” Moreton said.

Fernald planned to continue work on the proposedordinance.

BLT BRICKS

In other action Tuesday, aldermen gave their support toBrookhaven Little Theatre’s plans to sell inscribed bricks as afund-raiser this year.

Bricks, with the names of contributors, will be placed in thesidewalk in front of the Haven on West Cherokee Street, said AngelaJohnston, a member of BLT’s Board of Directors.

“I think it’ll add a bit of a charming touch to the downtownarea,” Johnston said.

BLT is expected to submit a plan for the brick-laying project tocity officials later.