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Aldermen stop city hall; mayor stops multi-modal facility

Brookhaven aldermen Tuesday halted work on a new city hall, andMayor Bill Godbold said progress on a multi-modal transportationfacility would be stopped as well.

“We’ll discontinue everything,” a surprised Godbold said afterthe unexpected board action.

Following a presentation by architect Michael Barranco on theestimated $1.2 million city hall, Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengillsaid the board had never voted to build a new city hall. However,he said officials were moving forward as if they had.

“I think we’ve got matters that take a certain precedence over anew city hall,” said Massengill, adding that he had spoken to anumber of citizens about it. “I’ve yet to find one who thinks it’sa good idea.”

Massengill then offered a motion to spend no more money on cityhall plans and to not continue the project. Ward 5 Alderman TomSmith seconded the motion and it carried 6-1.

Godbold, who has veto power but does not formally vote except incases of ties, said he was voting against the motion.

Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates was the dissenting vote in theformal motion. Bates said he agreed with Massengill, but indicatedthat a funding determination should be made for stopping theproject.

“We don’t know whether we can do it or not,” Bates said.

Godbold, mentioning an earlier letter he sent to Massengill,said the money was available to build a new city hall. The mayorlast night did not identify the source of those funds.

“I do not feel this is a top priority for the city,” Massengillsaid.

Godbold said Massengill does not work at the government complexand was not familiar with the limited space conditions.

“It’s a cramped situation up here,” Godbold said. “It’s beenthat way for a long time.”

Godbold then said he was not for spending millions of dollars ona new industrial park when there was still space that could be usedin the current one.

The mayor also questioned Massengill’s decision to move hisformer business, Southern Wholesale, which is now McLane Southern,to the industrial park. Massengill said he was glad the industrialpark was an option for relocation at time as otherwise the companymight have been moved to another town that had an industrialpark.

Brookhaven contractor Paul Jackson spoke in support ofBarranco’s plan for city hall. He suggested the board could keep itand return to it later.

“You couldn’t find a a plan that’s more feasible and comes closeto meeting your budget than what he’s drawn here,” Jacksonsaid.

Godbold, though, instructed Barranco to stop his work on themulti-modal transportation facility. Smith asked if a motion tostop that project was needed and the mayor said no.

“I was the one who got the money, not y’all,” Godbold said.

Following the board meeting, Godbold said he was “dead serious”about stopping the transportation facility that has been in theworks for several years. He said that will mean the city will loseabout $4 million in federal funding it has been allocated for theproject.

“Why should I stick my neck out to try for something they don’twant done,” Godbold said.

During his presentation, Barranco discussed his thoughts on thepreliminary city hall drawing.

The plan included a two-story building, approximately 11,500square feet, with the ability to add a 3,000 square foot thirdfloor in the future. The drawing featured a design fordrive-through water bill payment, a larger city board roomupstairs, space for various city offices and possible retailspace.

Barranco said the building’s exterior was fashioned after thepost office and Whitworth College campus buildings.

“We wanted to try and capture some of the historic aspects ofBrookhaven,” Barranco said.