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Aldermen move ahead on park annexation plan

Brookhaven aldermen are moving forward with plans to annex theLinBrook Business Park into the city limits.

Following a Tuesday night executive session for prospectivelitigation, which would be needed to initiate the legalproceedings, aldermen authorized consultant Mike Slaughter toprepare an annexation ordinance to take in the park.

The ordinance would address city desires to annex approximately400 acres west of the city near the end of Brookway Boulevard.Slaughter said there are “very few” residences that would beaffected by the annexation of the property, which is mostly city-and county-owned.

“This is a much more confined and more focused annexation,”Slaughter said in comparing the proposed park annexation with aseparate one that is awaiting final approval.

The pending annexation would more than triple the city’s currentsize and boost its population by several thousand residents.

City Attorney Joe Fernald touted the benefits of being able tozone the business park property, which was acquired through a jointeffort between the city, county and Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ll have total control to maximize profit,” Fernald said.

Slaughter said he could have the park annexation ordinanceprepared by the end of next month. He indicated the park annexationprocess could go as quickly as six months.

Regarding the pending annexation, city officials expect a rulingfrom the state Supreme Court sometime next year. On that note, theboard also authorized Slaughter to proceed with redrawing wardlines to accommodate the larger population should the annexation beapproved.

“Some of the aldermen wanted to look at some preliminary numberson that,” Slaughter said. “That’s what we’re doing.”

Pending receipt of some needed information from the city,Slaughter said he could have a preliminary ward line plan developedby the end of January.

In other business Tuesday, Brookhaven Airport AdvisoryCommission Chairman Paul Barnett updated the board on projects andplans for the city facility.

Among the priorities for 2007, Barnett said, are completion of asecurity fence around the airport and new hangar construction.

“We are in desperate need of new hangars,” Barnett said.

Construction of approximately eight to 12 new hangars would costaround $270,000 and completion of the fence is estimated at morethan $100,000.

“We’ve got to get these projects under way ASAP,” Barnettsaid.

Barnett cited the availability of around $220,000 in carryoverfunding from 2006 and $150,000 in general aviation entitlementfunds.

However, state transportation officials have expressed concernsabout a need to address the security and safety issues at theairport before moving to hangar construction. Barnett, AirportManager Clifford Britt, Mayor Bob Massengill and City Clerk MikeJinks were expected to schedule a meeting with state officials nextmonth to discuss those concerns and city plans.

On a related note, members of the airport advisory commissionwere re-appointed to the panel.

Finally Tuesday, aldermen again went into executive session forpossible litigation related to an accumulation of old cars at aRailroad Street residence and a Main Street business owned byLawrence Smith.

At the last board meeting, aldermen voted to move forward withremoval of the vehicles, which for years have been a source ofcomplaints from neighbors. Last night, Smith’s wife Gwendistributed business cards from a Jackson attorney and directed anycity comments to him.

Aldermen took no action following the brief closed meeting.However, Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron indicated no change inthe city’s resolve to have the vehicles moved.

“I’m sick of the whole thing,” Cameron said. “Alderman Cameronis tired of worrying with them.”