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‘Keyless entry’ among airport improvements

Airport improvements, a north Brookhaven sewer system projectand tree plantings on Brookway Boulevard were among items approvedduring Tuesday’s meeting of the mayor and board of aldermen.

Aldermen approved getting a keyless entry system for theairport’s terminal building, seeking bids on a self-service fuelsystem and obtaining proposals for a runway vacuum-sweepingservice.

“This is just three of many things we’re working as an airportadvisory commission,” said Paul Barnett, commission chairman, whilepresenting the request.

The keyless entry system would allow after-hours access forpilots to the the airport’s weather radar, restrooms and telephone,which would not allow long-distance calls, Barnett said. The systemis estimated to cost around $295 and would be portable if theairport is ever relocated.

The fueling system is estimated at under $15,000, which has beenbudgeted, and aldermen would have to approve its purchase. Therunway sweeping service, estimated at $250 a month, would help withsafety by keeping the runway free of debris, Barnett said.

Ward 5 Alderman Tom Smith wanted to wait until aldermen and theairport advisory commission meet to discuss long-rang operationsbefore approving the requests. However, aldermen said last nightthey were only agreeing to spend money for the entry system, whilethe other two were getting bids, and voted to proceed with thethree items.

SEWER, PLANTING PROJECTS

Aldermen approved an approximately $306,000 bid from GreenbriarDigging Service for a sewer system repair project in the Field LarkLane area. Derrick Tucker, with Engineering Associates, said thebid was about $115,000 less than estimated.

“We feel good with the bid,” Tucker said.

The project is contingent on getting a contractor eligibilitystatement from the state, which Tucker said is a formality, andgetting easements from some property owners in the area. Theproject has a 120-day construction period.

Also Tuesday, aldermen awarded a $12,894 bid to Growin’ GreenLandscape for the planting of 266 trees along BrookwayBoulevard.

Bennie Hutchins, who is working with the chamber’s communityappearance committee, said a lower $11,970 bid from a Philadelphialandscaping business was rejected because of a negative report fromAlcorn State University, one of the contractor’s previouscustomers.

The total “Streetscape” project is expected to cost around$30,000.

A $15,000 Mississippi Forestry Commission grant is funding theplanting while Entergy has contributed $10,000. The appearancecommittee has $8,750 available for purchasing trees. In addition toapproving the planting bid, aldermen agreed to use the remaining$2,100 forestry grant funds for tree purchases.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business Tuesday, aldermen reaffirmed an earlierdecision to pay half the costs of installing a fence between thecity’s parking lot across from the government complex and theCatholic church’s property in that block.

Alderman-at-large Henry Newman said he had received a request topay the approximately $900 bill. However, Mayor Bill Godbold saidthe bill had not been paid because of the city’s time and costs ofremoving trees and shrubs on the property.

“I still think we ought to honor our half,” Newman said.

Other aldermen agreed, saying they had voted earlier to pay upto $1,800 for the fence. Following the decision, Godbold said thecity had “lost again.”

“We don’t want to make the priest mad,” quipped Ward 2 AldermanTerry Bates.

Aldermen accepted a planning commission recommendation to deny arezoning request which would have allowed a 60-unit apartmentcomplex in the Lipsey Street and Hartman Street area. BuildingInspector Steve Moreton said about 25 neighbors attended thecommission hearing to oppose the rezoning.

At the hearing, though, Moreton said some commission members hadto be contacted to attend so there would be a quorum in order toconduct business. In the future, Moreton said he may ask aldermento reduce the size of the eight-person commission, who receive nopay for the service, or make some new appointments.

In appointment matters, Mike Clark, chairman of the PlanningCommission, was reappointed for a four-year term. Also, RalphBryant was reappointed to the Brookhaven Housing Authority.