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City seeks extension for sewer line work

Brookhaven officials will ask for an extension on using a$200,000 state capital improvement loan for a Field Lark Lane sewerline project, aldermen decided Thursday during a specialmeeting.

“We’ve got to have it,” said Mayor Bill Godbold about theextension.

City officials were facing a Friday afternoon deadline to spendthe money, but they have encountered a number of difficulties inpursuing the sewer system upgrade and line replacement project. Thelength of the extension to be sought was not clear.

“We’re going to ask for the maximum extension allowable underthe law,” said City Attorney Joe Fernald.

The city has also received a $243,000 Community DevelopmentBlock Grant for the project. The deadline to spend that money isnext summer, officials said.

Thursday’s meeting was held mostly in executive session for realestate negotiations and other reasons, Fernald said. In discussingdelays in the project, Fernald said there have been timeconstraints and human constraints.

“We have to deal with all of that,” Fernald said.

For the project, a number of property easements are needed toallow crews on private property to do the work. Engineer DerrickTucker said there have been some problems in getting the neededaccess.

“People are not wanting to sign the documents,” Tucker said.

City officials have met with landowners both in groups andindividually about getting the easements. Project plans have beenmodified to accommodate some landowners’ desires.

At one public meeting, some landowners expressed skepticismabout the project and city officials’ ability to meet theirobligations in the agreement. They mentioned unfulfilled promisesrelated to a sewer project 30 years ago.

Fernald indicated the city is working to address thoseconcerns.

“The city wants to be as fair as possible,” Fernald said.

In other business Thursday, aldermen re-approved a new water andsewer rate schedule for the city. The board has approved a newschedule at its Sept. 18 meeting, but there was a typographicalerror involving the minimum amount of water usage.

The error inadvertently lowered the minimum fee charged to 3,000gallons instead of the current 4,000 gallons. Last night’s actionreset the minimum at 4,000 gallons, meaning customers can still useup to that amount and be charged the $7.15 for water and $3 forsewer services.

According to the schedule, most customers either will see noincrease in fees or a combined 35 cents every 1,000 gallons usedover the minimum. With last night’s action, the new rates will gointo effect Oct. 1.