Hearing on city budget scheduled

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A new budget year begins in a little over a month, andBrookhaven officials are getting revenue and expenditure plansready.

Aldermen Tuesday scheduled a public hearing on the budget forMonday, Aug. 30, at 6 p.m. Prior to that, aldermen scheduled abudget work session for Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 6 p.m.

Mayor Bob Massengill said he and City Clerk Mike Jinks had beenworking on a budget draft and would present it during the worksession. Aldermen then could make suggestions on what they wouldlike to see included.

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“Money is always the issue, but we’ll do everything we possiblycan,” Massengill said.

The board is expected to approve the budget for the new year atits Sept. 7 meeting. The new budget year begins Oct. 1.

In other discussions during a relatively-short meeting Tuesday,Alderman at large Les Bumgarner questioned how the city’sannexation case would go now that it has been appealed to the stateSupreme Court. Objectors filed a formal appeal last Friday.

City Attorney Joe Fernald said the court may accept all orreject all of the approved 14.4-square mile annexation area or itmay remove part of the area.

Fernald said the city may consider a cross-complaint to seek toadd back an area that was excluded. He said the area, which he didnot identify by name, currently receives some city services.

Bumgarner voiced opposition to seeking additional territory.

“I think from our standpoint, we ought to leave it like thejudge set it up,” Bumgarner said.

The city’s annexation is on hold indefinitely as records andexhibits from the trial are prepared. Once those items arecompleted, the file will be sent to the state high court.

In a water department related matter, aldermen approved a planto hold customers responsible for the costs of any road boringassociated with new water connections. City officials said theborings, to allow water line installation, usually cost $500 ormore.

Bumgarner said Tuesday night’s action was fair. Massengillagreed, citing the city’s investment in covering boring costs.

“It takes a long, long time to recoup that money,” the mayorsaid.

Massengill updated aldermen on landfill issues following aDepartment of Environmental Quality inspection. The mayor saidconcerns had been addressed and a land survey revealed additionalspace that will extend the life of the city’s rubbish fill.

“That’s some of the best news we’ve had in a long time,”Bumgarner said.

Citing requirements that rubbish be covered every two weeks,Massengill said the city will need to look at buying some land as adirt source. He said that could be considered in preparing the newbudget.

Also Tuesday, Bumgarner voiced concerns about city leash lawsand dogs relieving themselves while running with their owners.

“It’s really not fair to walk your dog and they go in someone’syard to use the bathroom,” Bumgarner said.

Massengill said he had spoken with Police Chief Pap Hendersonabout the situation. He also mentioned the possibility of animalsapproaching joggers.

“That’s pretty intimidating for someone to have three or fourdogs come out where they are,” Massengill said.

Regarding his issue, Bumgarner suggested the city develop anordinance requiring owners to clean up after their animals.Massengill said that was a good idea, but questioned how it wouldbe enforced.

“It’s a problem,” Massengill said about the animal issue.

Finally Tuesday, aldermen briefly went into executive session todiscuss a personnel issue involving a firefighter who has beensuspended for two weeks without pay due to tardiness. The boardtook no action after the closed hearing.

Also, Massengill said a cemetery employee who was terminated dueto excessive accidents has requested a hearing before the board.The hearing, expected to held in executive session, was scheduledfor a future board meeting.