Storm cleanup almost finished

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Brookhaven officials say Hurricane Katrina cleanup is windingdown, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expected to address afew remaining items before moving on to other locations.

Following a meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agencyofficials earlier Tuesday, Public Works Director Steve Moreton saidsix items were brought to Corps officials’ attention. Once thoseare addressed, he said, the city could issue a letter releasing theCorps to go elsewhere.

“We don’t need any more stumps placed on city right of way,”Moreton advised citizens. “That deadline has passed.”

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Mayor Bob Massengill said the stump deadline was Oct. 21.Moreton said homeowners with stumps still on private property wouldbe responsible for having them removed.

City officials also discussed lighting needs following thestorm. Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes asked residents tocontact their aldermen regarding street lights that are down orstill out.

In other Hurricane Katrina-related activity, aldermen formallyadopted resolutions recognizing Park City, Ill., and Brookhaven,N.Y., for their assistance following the storm. The resolutionsincluded adoptions of the communities as sister cities.

Also, a Brookhaven, N.Y., flag, which was donated by thatcommunity’s South Country Ambulance Service, has been framed andwas placed in the city board room Tuesday. The framing was donatedby City Attorney Joe Fernald.

“It looks great,” Massengill said.

Also Tuesday, Aldermen Mary Wilson, D.W. Maxwell and Buddy Allenwere appointed to a committee to consider the nomination processfor the new airport advisory board.

Aldermen recently voted to revive the panel as a seven-memberboard, which would include four pilots and three businessmen.Massengill asked the committee to determine how the board slotswould be filled and how five-year terms would be staggered.

“What we don’t want is to appoint seven people for five-yearterms and then, five years from now, have to start all over,” themayor said.

Board nominations were expected to be made at the Dec. 20 cityboard meeting, with airport board members taking office at thestart of the new year.

In other business Tuesday, aldermen approved an interlocalagreement with the county regarding a bond issue for a taxincrement financing bond issue to fund an infrastructure projectfor the new Home Depot. When the store was considering locatinghere last year, city and county officials agreed to the TIF plan,which the bond issue being repaid from sales and property taxesgenerated by the store.

Fernald said the TIF financing is a “win-win situation” for allinvolved. Maxwell agreed.

“I think that’s something we should use more often,” Maxwellsaid.

Following a subcommittee recommendation, aldermen approvedWilliford, Gearhart and Knight as the engineer for upcoming citysewer projects. Massengill said the city is planning to spend about$900,000 to address six sewer system concerns.

“They are in several areas of town,” said the mayor, who did notelaborate on the situations.

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron, who headed the subcommittee,cited Williford’s local connections and past work for the city. Inrecommending another firm, Cameron expressed dissatisfaction withthe amount of time it had taken Engineering Associates to completeother city projects, such as a Center Street widening and paving inhis ward.

After raising solid waste fees by $4 a month earlier this year,Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates questioned whether the city waspicking up refrigerators, water heaters and other white good inaddition to other items, such as mattresses and couches.

During an extended discussion, Massengill said he did not thinkthe board action included white goods, but officials could checkthe past board minutes for a definite answer. The mayor warned thecity must operate within its means in the solid wasteoperations.