Aldermen approve offer to industrial prospect

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 24, 2004

Brookhaven aldermen voted unanimously Wednesday to submit aproposal to an industrial prospect that could bring up to 150 jobsto the community.

Following an executive session, the board approved Mayor BobMassengill making an offer to the unnamed automotive supplier thatis considering several locations in Mississippi, Alabama andTennessee. Chamber officials received information on the prospectMonday and an offer had to be prepared by Thursday.

“We want them to know we want to be considered,” Massengillsaid.

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The offer includes the possibility of the city using up to $1million in Wal-Mart bond repayment funds to construct a buildingthat would be leased to the company.

“I hope this will put us in a more competitive position incomparison with other communities vying for the project,” saidChandler Russ, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerceexecutive vice-president, following the board action.

In addition to four communities in Tennessee and one in Alabama,Russ said Wednesday the number of Mississippi suitors for thecompany is up to about eight.

“The list is growing,” said Russ, adding that the board actionarms the chamber with a tool to make an aggressive offer.

The company is looking for a 50,000 square feet facility thatcould be expanded to 100,000 square feet. It also needs 10 acres,which Russ said could be from the recently-acquired Fender propertynear the current industrial park

The company is expected to make a location decision by the endof July, Russ said.

Massengill praised the board’s action in agreeing to submit aproposal.

“This shows that Brookhaven and Lincoln County are serious aboutattracting industry,” Massengill said.

Should Brookhaven advance in the site selection process,Massengill said he would like to seek an outside analysis of theprospect’s financial status to determine the viability of thecity’s building lease plans. One idea that has been discussed isapplying lease payments on the building toward repayment of a bondissue to help develop a new industrial park.

The city and county have each been asked to pursue to up $2.2million bond issues for a new industrial park. Massengill saidpursuing the automotive supplier prospect would not prevent thecity from participating in the new industrial park project.

“The industrial park is still the number one priority,”Massengill said. “However, we don’t want to pass up an opportunityto have a company locate in the present industrial park.”

In other business during Wednesday’s special meeting, aldermenapproved an emergency repair for a city water well and to have aleaning tree on Warren Avenue cut down.

Water Department Superintendent Lanny Dickey estimated therepair would cost around $10,000. While it poses no threat to thewater supply, the pump will have to be inspected before the problemis determined, he said.

“We don’t know what’s wrong with it until we can pull it,”Dickey said.