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Mayor pushes new city hall; criticizes opponents of plan

Mayor Bill Godbold says it’s time for Brookhaven officials tohave their own city hall, and he anticipates moving forward on theproject in the near future.

“Every office we got here has run out of room,” Godbold said inraising the city hall subject at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Citing a review by City Accountant Verbalee Watts, the mayorsaid the city had paid $816,000 in “rent” at the government complexin 272 months since 1981. County officials have said the city doesnot pay “rent,” but pays a percentage of the monthly utilities andother operational costs.

“We could have built two city halls with a parking garage forthat much money,” Godbold said.

Godbold said architect Michael Barranco is nearing completion ona city hall drawing and would be at the next city board meeting.The mayor also responded to citizens’ comments suggesting cityofficials “don’t know what they’re talking about” regarding a needfor a new city hall.

“They’re crazy as hell. We do know what we’re talking about…”Godbold said. “It’s time for us to build what we need.”

In a related matter earlier in the board meeting, Ward 4Alderman Bob Massengill questioned a payment to Barranco regardinghis work on a community center.

The alderman stressed he was not questioning the communitycenter, but said the board needed to consider priorities for thenew fiscal year as budget time approaches. Saying annexation wouldbe at the top of his list, Massengill suggested board membersdevelop a list of what they consider to be the city’s toppriorities.

“I think it would be good for us,” Massengill said.

Priorities could be discussed during a special board meetingplanned for Thursday at 6 p.m. regarding annexation. The meeting,expected to be held in executive session for reasons of pendinglitigation, will look at city expansion and it would relate to newindustrial park funding and other city projects.

While no other alderman spoke about priorities, projects thathave been mentioned in recent board meetings include annexation, anew industrial park, a new city hall, a multi-modal transportationfacility, a police department move and a swimming pool. How tohandle garbage collection woes has also taken up board members’time.

Related to the multi-modal facility, aldermen approved paying a$5,000 bill for appraisal of the proposed site in the area near theCourt Street and Railroad Avenue intersection. Godbold did notdisclose the appraised value and did not want to discuss how muchof the property may be needed for the transportation facility.

Also Tuesday, aldermen approved a plat for a housing developmentto be located between Brookway Boulevard and Halbert Heights Roadbetween Magee Drive and Diane Drive. The development, known asHalbrook Place, would be located on six acres and have 38 lots forcourtyard homes, said architect Scott Morgan, who is working withMike Smith and LML Development.

Morgan said the development, with homes targeted to cost around$150,000, would be a “fine fit” between the commercial andresidential areas. He complimented the Brookhaven PlanningCommission and their working with developers on the project.

“It’s been well-received by them,” Morgan said.