Community pulls through in worst of times

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2005

Our community is in the process of coming through the worstdisaster the area has ever experienced.

No one could imagine as many trees down or as many homes andbusinesses damaged as we experienced. All of the area was withoutpower for several days, but by now service has been restored tomost areas. The utility companies have worked extremely hard torestore service. It will take time for us to fully recover and forus to see things return to normal.

Overall, Brookhaven was fortunate compared with many cities andtowns near us. We thank you for the help you have been in handlingthis disaster. Please be patient with the city’s cleanup efforts,as we will put forth an extra effort and will continue to doso.

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In other city matters, we have also been busy working on thebudget for next year and will soon have this finalized. As you haveheard previously, the city is having to increase water rates andthe fee for picking up trash and yard waste. Water rates arecurrently the same as they were in 1992, and much of the city’sequipment in this department is fifteen years old or older andneeds to be replaced. The trash pickup fee must be raised as thecity is losing money in that department.

Every member of the board would like to leave prices where theypresently are, but we would be irresponsible not to at least covercosts.

The concrete work in the downtown area of town was scheduled tostart in September. Once this is completed, the downtown pavingwill begin. We have talked about this for a few years now, but weshould all be pleased with our downtown streets soon. We do notknow yet how the effects of the hurricane will effect theschedule.

We’re moving ahead with the multi-modal project and should bebidding this out during October. We expect to be using the facilitybefore the end of next year and will keep you posted on ourprogress. Demolition on parts of the building should begin inNovember or December.

The city will soon be annexing the land purchased for the newbusiness park. We won’t know the outcome on the pending annexationsituation for the next several months. Possibly, it may be nextyear before we know where we stand on that.

We are installing a new fence at the airport and know this willmake this facility more secure. The All Weather Operations Systemshould help our pilots and will help improve our airport. We’realso replacing the hangars that were recently destroyed by winddamage.

The board members have been working on things they’d each liketo see us accomplish these next four years. Everyone will be giventhe opportunity to have input, after which we will decide on whichitems are most important and most feasible. We will keep you fullyaware of what we want to accomplish this term and always welcomeyour thoughts and input.

We definitely want Brookhaven and Lincoln County to be thoughtof as “the shining star” of southwest Mississippi.

The city is pleased to have Walter Temple as our new buildinginspector. Walter served in this position for more than 18 years inMcComb. I’m also pleased to have Mrs. Milton (Patsy) Wallace as mysecretary.

We are thankful that even though our area was hit hard, we canrecover by working together. It has been great to see neighborshelping neighbors and lending a hand to those less fortunate. Thechurches that are functioning as shelters are to be commended forall they are doing. The people of our community truly arespecial.

Contact Brookhaven Mayor Bob Massengill at (601) 833-1414 or(601) 833-5796.