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Water lines target of next Whitworth work

Brookhaven officials Tuesday authorized engineers to proceedwith plans for an estimated $692,500 project to install new waterlines to serve the Whitworth College campus.

Brookhaven officials Tuesday authorized engineers to proceedwith plans for an estimated $692,500 project to install new waterlines to serve the Whitworth College campus.

Derrick Tucker, with Engineering Associates, said the projectinvolves installation of approximately 8,500 feet of eight-inchwater main lines and 1,200 feet of 12-inch water main lines. Hesaid the $692,500 cost estimate is a “ballpark figure” atpresent.

The new water lines will provide improved water services andfire protection for the campus, which will be the site of theMississippi School of the Arts, and the central business districtdowntown, Tucker said.

“The city will gain in two different ways with theseimprovements,” Tucker said.

The board approved Tucker going forward with project design. Theproject will be paid for with a special Housing and UrbanDevelopment grant for Whitworth College, city officials said.

INDUSTRY RECRUITMENT

In other business Tuesday, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber ofCommerce Executive Vice-President Chandler Russ updated cityofficials on recruitment efforts for a new industry. Russ saidindustry officials had asked it not be identified.

“We’re going to be real delicate in our dealings with them,”Russ said.

The industry would build a $20-$25 million facility and have 125employees at a rate of about $16 an hour, Russ said. It is lookingto build a 120,000-square-feet building with rail capabilities.

Russ said Lincoln County is in competition with a neighboringcounty for the industry. He mentioned factors and priorities thatmay influence the industry location decision one way or theother.

Russ said two sites in the Industrial Park #1 and one site inIndustrial Park #2 are under consideration. He said he may bereturning to the board for city assistance in sale negotiations inthe future.

“I want to make sure Brookhaven and Lincoln County put the bestoffer forward,” Russ said.

City officials indicated they would support recruitmentplans.

“We’ll work with them,” said Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates. “Weneed jobs.”

“It’s a great company,” Russ said. “We’d be proud to have themin Lincoln County.”

In other chamber matters, Russ said officials are working withKeystone-Seneca on its sale plans. He said the company looking tobuy the operation was considering a “significant investment” thatwould be beneficial to the community.

Russ said chamber officials are also working on landscaping andother improvements around the main industrial park.

AIRPORT BOARD ACTION

After assuming control of the city airport earlier this year,aldermen Tuesday made nominations to the new airport advisoryboard. The new advisory board is expected to include at least twomembers of the old airport board that was abolished when the cityassumed airport control.

Jim Duncan, the former board chairman, was nominated for atwo-year term, and Keith White was nominated for a four-yearterm.

Other people nominated for the board include John Lynch — oneyear; Stanford Qualls — three years and Paul Barnett — fiveyears. Jeff Wilson, a former member of the old airport board, wasnamed as an alternate should any of the nominees refuseappointment.

Terms were staggered with the creation of the new board. Afterthe first year, terms will be for five years with members beingeligible for reappointment.

Mayor Bill Godbold said a member who misses three meetings ayear will be removed from the board.

DRUG TESTING DILEMMA

With possibly two contracts for drug testing of cityemployees in effect, aldermen took no action last night after oneof the vendors questioned the board on its decision to accept theservices of another provider.

At their Sept. 19 meeting, aldermen voted unanimously tohave the city’s drug testing done by the Human Performance Center.Representatives of the company made a presentation to the boardseveral months ago.

The city’s contract with the company became effectiveOct. 1.

However, Kim Carr, of Carr and Associates, said hercompany had been providing the service for at least three years andshe was unaware of the city’s desire to change.

“I feel like Kim wasn’t treated fair by not beingnotified that this was coming up,” said Ward 6 Alderman John E.”Buddy” Allen.

Some other aldermen said they felt they were misled bystatements about HPC’s local ownership and operation. Ward 5Alderman Tom Smith agreed with Allen.

“I feel like we should have given her an opportunity tobid on it,” Smith said.

Godbold suggested the city have two drug testingproviders. Aldermen elected to table the matter and have CityAttorney Joe Fernald review both firms’ drug testing contractdocuments.

OTHER BUSINESS

Aldermen approved allowing Knibbles to set tables outside therestaurant on South Whitworth Avenue.

Since the business is in his district, Ward 3 Alderman the Rev.Jerry Wilson raised an objection to Ward 4 Alderman John Roberts’handling the restaurant’s request. Roberts said he frequents therestaurant and his actions were not intentional.

Aldermen also approved a land development ordinance for thecity. The purpose of the ordinance is establish minimum standardsfor the protection of trees and plants, to enhance city appearanceand to provide for the proper installation, maintenance and landclearing of all sites.

“I think it’s something that’s going be benefit everybody,” saidBuilding Inspector Steve Moreton.

The ordinance is scheduled to take effect in 30 days. It willapply to all new construction that requires submission of a siteplan and site alterations or repairs is more than 50 percent of thereproduction costs.