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Municipal airport will get 5-member advisory board

Brookhaven aldermen Tuesday agreed on a five-member advisorycommission for the city’s airport, and a new intermodal citytransportation system may be closer to a reality.

While the mayor and board of aldermen would retain authorityover the airport under the proposed ordinance, there was somediscussion last night over whether the advisory board needed tohave five members or three members.

“The more people you get, the more people you’re trying to dealwith,” said Ward 5 Alderman Tom Smith in support of the smallerboard.

However, Ward 4 Alderman John Roberts, an advocate of afive-member board, said having a majority with aeronauticalexperience and two members with business backgrounds would be best.He said the pilots would be knowledgeable of airport issues whilebusinessmen could ensure hangar and fuel fees were appropriate.

There was also some concerns about being able to find fivemembers and having a quorum for meetings. However, after only Smithand Ward 6 Alderman John E. “Buddy” Allen voted for a three-memberboard, aldermen unanimously approved a five-member board.

“With five on board, you’re giving other people a chance to haveinput,” said Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates.

Airport commission members will be appointed for staggeredterms. Aldermen were expected to approve the airport ordinance andmake appointments at the Oct. 3 meeting.

In other business, an intermodal city transportation system ismoving forward. Mayor Bill Godbold said plans have been drawn andthe city was seeking federal assistance funds.

“If we get a government subsidy, we’ll start on it next year,”Godbold said Tuesday night.

The mayor’s comments came during a public hearing on lotcleaning and the city’s possible interest in property near the oldNorth Railroad Avenue smoke stack where the intermodal facilitywould be located.

“It would really be a multi-faceted thing,” said Roberts, whohas been working with architect Michael Barranco, congressional andcity officials on the project.

Roberts said the proposed city project has been getting afavorable reception in Washington. The intermodal operation wouldinclude train services, a mini-bus system for transporting citizensand possibly fine arts school students, a possible Federal Expressservice, and parking garages to meet expected needs due to the artsschool, the alderman said.

HABITAT HELP Aldermen approved extension of water andsewer services to a piece of Grenn Street property underconsideration as sites for new Habitat for Humanity of LincolnCounty houses. The materials cost for the work is about $3,000,said Lanny Dickey, Brookhaven Water Departmentsuperintendent.

Fred Calcote, Habitat vice president, said theorganization would buy the property if the city agreed to do thework. He said Habitat hopes to build four new houses on theproperty.

COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Also Tuesday, aldermen approved City Attorney Joe Fernaldexploring a loan program which would allow the city to contributeto commercial development activities.

Under the program, the city would pay for cleaning of lots, withits costs recouped through sales or property taxes generated by thecommercial development.

“There are some properties in town, if they are to be developed,may require a lot of clean up,” Fernald said.

City officials said the Target shopping center in Jackson was anexample of an area where the loan program was used. The oldGibson’s shopping center was an example of where the program maycould be used in Brookhaven, officials mentioned.

BUILDING PLANS

When the city receives the old National Guard armory or theMississippi Highway Patrol building after new facilities arecompleted, Alderman-at-large Henry Newman suggested the city sellone of the pieces of property to finance desired city projects.

Newman mentioned a new gymnasium or new tennis courts. He alsomentioned property tax benefits of having the property on the taxrolls.

Street Department Superintendent Jimmy Griffin suggested boardmembers make one into a new city barn. Other options have includedputting the recreation department in the old MHP building.

No decisions have been on building plans.