Garbage expense raises budget eyebrows

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Brookhaven aldermen Tuesday revised this year’s spending plansand were warned that the city’s solid waste revenue andexpenditures are getting a closer review.

The board approved a net $722,378 decrease in the current yearbudget due to some projects, such as First Street paving projectand Whitworth College fire improvements, that have not been doneyet. A $1.8 million decrease in spending more than offset $1.09million decrease in revenue.

“We’re really to the good since we decreased expenditures morethan we decreased revenue…,” said City Clerk Iris Rudman inexplaining the routine late-year budget balancing action. “There’snothing catastrophic in this budget.”

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Rudman warned, however, of problems with the city’s solid wastebudget. In that area, revenue decreased by $4,400 and expensesincreased by $40,231.

Solid waste revenue, which comes from a limited tax levy anduser fees for garbage collection, has not been paying for itselfthe last two years, Rudman said. The mayor is now looking at thesituation, she said.

After the meeting, Mayor Bill Godbold said revenue shortfallshad been covered with a surplus. But now that surplus is startingto run out, there’s some uncertainty for next year.

“We’ve got this year covered, but next year is what we’relooking at,” Godbold said, adding that the city is suffering fromslower revenue collections like the rest of the state andnation.

In other budget-related action, city officials scheduled aMonday, Aug. 20, work session to discuss next year’s budget. A newyear budget discussion was on last night’s agenda, but aldermenelected to delay activity until the work session.

“Come to stay awhile,” Rudman said.

A public hearing on the new year budget is scheduled for Sept. 4and the budget is expected to be approved in a special meeting onSept. 14. Fiscal year 2002 begins Oct. 1.


In other action last night, some annexation matters receivedcity fathers’ attention. Aldermen declined to pay a $5,548 bill tothe annexation consultants until officials are provided withpromised personnel, equipment and other cost data related to aproposed city expansion.

Ward 3 Alderman the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson said he had receivedsome minority voting age population totals. The alderman did notgive the totals, but voiced his disapproval.

“I’m not well-pleased with that,” Wilson said.

The proposed annexation would lower the city’s overall blackpopulation from 51.4 percent to 50.5 percent in the expandedarea.

Wilson also questioned what input citizens in the proposedannexation area would have in the city plans. Godbold said theywould have a say in court.

“I believe people should have a say in what they would like todo and not like to do,” Wilson said.

Aldermen also approved City Attorney Joe Fernald contactingannexation attorney Jerry Mills. Fernald said Mills is a legalexpert in the area could help the city prepare its case and presentit in court.


A heated board discussion ensued when Wilson againattempted to have a culvert installed along a section of GeorgeStreet. Following a discussion at the last meeting, Godbold issueda veto of the action, but other city officials said there was nevera vote to pursue it.

For the work, $25,000 has been budgeted, but officialsare awaiting pipe size information from engineers. The money is notexpected to cover installation of the 400-feet length of thestreet, but Wilson would like to use the funds for as far as theywill go.

Wilson said the project will help develop the area, butGodbold repeatedly questioned who owns property there.

Wilson identified Ralph Osborne as a property owner, butsaid it made no difference. Godbold directed Tax Collector PatDuckworth to find out the property owners in the area.

After being rejected in his effort to discuss the matterbehind closed doors in executive session, Wilson criticized what heconsidered a lack of full support from his fellow board members.Mentioning board support for Industrial Park water drainage helprequested earlier in the meeting, Wilson indicated that he has runinto opposition in trying to do east side projects that would helpconstituents.

“If we’re going to talk out of both sides of our mouths,we’ve got a problem around this board,” Wilson said.

New Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill said he was notprepared to vote on Wilson’s request last night and asked that itbe delayed until the next meeting. Wilson agreed with therequest.

Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates expressed support forWilson’s project and other efforts that he and fellow aldermanbring up for discussion. He indicated the projects are importantand deserve discussion.

“I don’t think anybody brings anything to this boardjust for the hell of it,” Bates said.