Aldermen delay annexation action

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 21, 2002

An absent alderman Tuesday night prompted Brookhaven officialsto delay discussion of a proposed annexation ordinance to expandthe city limits.

The ordinance was on the agenda for discussion, but Ward 1Alderman Dorsey Cameron was out of town and unable to attend lastnight’s meeting. City Attorney Joe Fernald said all aldermen needto be present for the discussion so that their areas arerepresented.

During a brief statement, Fernald said there is a map of theproposed area but it would not be made public until the boardadopts an annexation ordinance. The ordinance is a procedural stepthat will allow annexation consultants to better define personnel,equipment and other costs associated with city limitsexpansion.

“It’s really not much different from the last time we talkedabout it,” Fernald said about the annexation area.

Aldermen last discussed annexation during a special meetingexecutive session in March. Consultants have since been working ona written description of the area being considered forannexation.

Residents of the Lakewood Village area south of town andresidents along Field Lark Lane outside the northwestern part oftown have filed petitions expressing their opposition to beingannexed. Also, officials with Wal-Mart Distribution and McLaneSouthern in the industrial park have expressed concerns aboutannexation.

The city’s desire to annex came up later in Tuesday’s meetingduring budget discussions. City Clerk Iris Rudman told boardmembers that a shrinking tax base was being reflected in the city’sdeclining general fund budget.

Mayor Bill Godbold attributed the declines to populationshifts.

“They’re all moving outside our boundaries,” the mayor said.”We’ve got to go with them.”

Ward 6 Alderman John E. “Buddy” Allen mentioned city progress invoicing his support for annexation.

“There’s no such thing as a town standing still, ” Allen said.”You’re either going to be moving ahead or you’re backing up.”

With a city population now under 10,000 and if annexation is notpursued, Fernald said officials will need to start theredistricting process for five aldermen instead of the currentseven. Aldermen Tuesday did not schedule a meeting date to discussannexation possibilities.

PROJECT UPDATE

In other business Tuesday, engineer Jeff Green updated cityofficials on progress on the South First Street storm draininstallation and the Whitworth Fire Loop water project.

Regarding the fire loop, Green said there has been good progressbut crews are trying to address dusty conditions in the work area.He said some road milling material was put in to solve the dustsituation.

“We’re improvising to keep everything in good shape,” Greenssaid.

On the storm drain project, Green said crews hope to be finishedwith installation by the end of the month. Curb and gutter work andpaving would be the next steps in the project.

SEPT. 11 SALUTE

In remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Ward 4Alderman Bob Massengill said he is working with the chamber ofcommerce to hold a “Silent Parade” through town.

The parade would feature police and fire departments leadingcitizens, who would be encouraged to show up with U.S. flags, alongthe parade route. The parade would end at Whitworth College withthe singing of “God Bless America” and “The National Anthem” and afeatured speaker.

“I just think it would be a really good thing to do,” Massengillsaid.

Aldermen approved Massengill’s working with the chamber tocoordinate the event.

OTHER BUSINESS

* Also Tuesday, aldermen approved Nov. 9 plans for a markerdedication for the Brookhaven Light Artillery and the refurbishingof the Confederate grave site in Rosehill Cemetery. The Nov. 9plans also include a cannon firing a blank shell during theceremony in Railroad Park.

* The board approved plans to lease-purchase a modular buildingto serve as the new city barn. The building, which was previouslyused as a classroom for Brookhaven High School, will cost $29,400over a two-year period.

“We need to get our people out of the weather,” said Mayor BillGodbold, referring to poor roof conditions at the current city barnon Willard Street.

* Building Inspector Steve Moreton gave aldermen a copy of aproposed new sign ordinance for the city. Board members were askedto be ready to vote on the new law at the next board meeting.

* Godbold informed board members that the Mississippi Departmentof Transportation has approved $4,000 for an airport master planand site selection study. The study would evaluate expansionpossibilities at the airport and whether a new facility isneeded.

In an airport-related matter, Boyce Bullock was named airportmanager. He replaces Benton Furlow, who died recently.

* Aldermen voted to withdraw from the Mississippi MunicipalLeague (MML) . While there was some discussion, board members saidthe $3,258 a year in membership was not justified by the benefitscity officials receive.

* Godbold rescinded his veto of a $100 check to Ward 3 Aldermanthe Rev. Jerry L. Wilson to reimburse him for attending a MML BlackCaucus Session. Aldermen approved the check at the last boardmeeting, in which the mayor was not present, but said similarevents in the future will have to be approved in advance.