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Officials aim to bring home money

City and county officials hope to lay the ground work forcontinued funding success during a trip to Washington next week tovisit with members of the state’s congressional delegation.

Mayor Bob Massengill, City Clerk Mike Jinks, supervisors’President Bobby J. Watts, Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop, CountyAdministrator David Fields and engineer Carl Ray Furr will leaveMonday and return Wednesday. They are scheduled to meet with Sens.Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, Third District Rep. Chip Pickering andtheir congressional staffs to discuss needs for the city andcounty.

“We’ll present several projects,” Bishop said.

The top priority for the city and county is assistance withwater and sewer improvements for a new industrial park.

Officials are hoping to have $1 million designated for anelevated water tank, a water well and new lines to the site west ofthe city. Massengill said he doubted the city and county would beable to secure federal funds for the full $2.5 million estimatedcosts of that project.

“We’re going to get nothing if we don’t go ask for it,”Massengill said.

City and county officials are considering bond issues and otherfunding sources to cover other costs of industrial parkdevelopment.

The city’s other priority is a senior citizen community center,which would be located in a low-moderate income area of the city,Massengill said. He said the city would seek $500,000 to applytoward that project.

“If we can get federal money, we’d be that much further ahead,”Massengill told aldermen, who approved the trip and the city’spriority list during Tuesday night’s meeting.

Bishop said another county priority is funding to help with somedrainage issues in the Bogue Chitto area. He said the issue hasbeen mentioned in the past, but officials have so far beenunsuccessful.

That project aside, city and county lobbying trips have producedresults. Bishop said the city and county have received over $5million in federal funding help for various projects.

“That’s money we wouldn’t have gotten if we hadn’t gone andasked for it and made our case,” Bishop said.

Massengill agreed.

“These trips pay off,” the mayor said.

Bishop said the county has sent a delegation to Washington everyyear since 2001.

“A Brookhaven-Lincoln County delegation is important everyyear,” Bishop said. “It’s well worth the cost of the travelexpense.”

Among the projects getting funding assistance have been $1.5million for a road through the Homochitto National Forest, $2million for the city multi-modal transportation facility and$500,000 for government complex renovations. All those projectscurrently are in planning or early development.

A recent success was $350,000 for renovations of thecounty-owned Lincoln County Boys and Girls Club building. Bishopsaid discussions are under way with club officials on how to spendthe funds.

“The county is going to give quite a bit of leeway in thestructural design of the building,” Bishop said.

Bishop said the club funds are working their way through thecongressional appropriations process. He was optimistic that moneywould survive the process and be available for use next year.