Paving work starts soon

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Paving projects, insurance and a fire department vacancy gotcity officials’ attention Tuesday during a routine meeting of themayor and board of aldermen.

City Engineer Carl Ray Furr told officials that plans for pavingthe airport runway and downtown streets are being finalized. Hehoped to have those projects ready to go in 30-45 days.

Furr said the goal was to have newly-paved streets in time forthe Christmas parade and holiday season. The city is using aportion of approximately $400,000 in accumulated federaltransportation funds and 20 percent local matching money to do thework.

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Some downtown business owners have voiced concerns that thepaving timetable would impact their holiday shopping business.

Furr and his associate Hugh Long said they hoped to have thework completed by November. Long said contractors would try tominimize inconveniences.

“A particular street would not be closed down but for a fewdays,” Long said.

Later, Traffic Control Supervisor Jimmy Furlow said he had beentold the paving work would be done at night. Under that scenario,he said the downtown paving work could be done in about a week.

In other business Tuesday, aldermen voted to renew the city’sliability insurance policy that cuts coverage in half from $2million to $1 million and raises the deductible in severalcategories to $10,000. Insurance agent Mike Smith said there isapproximately 7.5 to 8 percent increase in premiums, due mostly toclaims in the law enforcement area.

Aldermen also voted to add terrorism coverage to the city’spolicy. That added about $1,400 a year to the approximately$122,000 policy.

During the discussion, Ward 3 Alderman the Rev. Jerry L. Wilsonmentioned the shooting of an alderman in New York City. He,however, doubted that situation would happen in Brookhaven.

“I don’t think the people would get that mad at us,” Wilsonsaid.

Aldermen Tuesday did not address any other matters related tothe new year budget. With a public hearing at 5 p.m. Thursday and abudget meeting after the hearing, Mayor Bill Godbold said there wasno need to get into the budget last night.

“If you do, you’re going to get run off in every direction,” themayor said.

In a fire department personnel matter, Wilson and Ward 2Alderman Terry Bates questioned when Assistant Chief Moses Bellwould be replaced. Bell recently retired after more than 25 yearswith the department.

Bates wanted to talk about the matter in executive session, butthere was no need after Wilson raised it during open discussion.Wilson said there were firefighters with seniority, and the cityneeded to promote from within.

“That space needs to be filled,” Wilson said.

Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron indicated that seniorityshouldn’t be the only factor considered.

“Seniority plays a lot in promotion, but it doesn’t always haveto be that way,” Cameron said.

Godbold and Chief Paul Cartwright said five or six firefightershad been offered the job but refused.

“Everybody we talked to didn’t want it,” Godbold said.

Cartwright said one reason was that the assistant chief works ona five-day schedule as opposed to firefighters’ 24-hour shift work.To make additional money, most firefighters have second jobs theypursue when not at the fire station.

The chief said applications are being taken from currentfirefighters and from people outside the fire department.

“We’re going to take our time and look at it and see what wehave to work with,” Cartwright said.