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Alderman still has concerns about building

Despite a unanimous vote to proceed with the renovation of acity building, one alderman is voicing concerns that better optionsare available to the city.

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell says he believes the numbersregarding a project to relocate the Brookhaven Police Department tothe old Mississippi Highway Patrol building do not adequatelyreflect another viable option for building a new facility. At thisweek’s meeting, the board of aldermen voted unanimously for therelocation.

However, Maxwell contends research on the possibility ofconstructing a metal or conventional building was not sufficientlyresearched.

“I see nothing wrong with metal and conventional buildings,”said Maxwell. “We might have done all this research and come backto this same conclusion, but I feel it just wasn’t wellexplored.”

Massengill defended the data he presented at Tuesday’smeeting.

“We had an architect and a local builder provide the data,” saidMassengill. “What we’re trying to do is provide the policedepartment with the best possible facility at the best cost for ourtaxpayers. The board voted unanimously, and made the decision basedon sound data.”

The board voted to renovate the old MHP building on Highway 51 -with Maxwell arguing against it – as Massengill’s research showedlandslide numbers in favor of renovation over building.

After the money allotted by the budget and the grant for policestation renovation, the city would only need around $50,000.Constructing a new building, however, could leave the city stillneeding around a quarter of a million dollars, according toMassengill’s totals.

Maxwell, though, believes the MHP lot could have been sold ortraded, possibly to a local businessman, for enough money that -with other available funding – it would be feasible to put up a newbuilding altogether.

He said Massengill’s numbers were one-sided and did not reflectthis possibility. The alderman, though, did not specifically say soat Tuesday’s meeting and did not produce any documentation tosupport his contentions regarding new building construction.

When Maxwell asked Massengill during the board meeting if he hadtalked to the state auditor about the trade option, Massengillreplied he had not. The mayor said his research showed it wouldsimply not be cost-efficient.

However, Massengill also listed numbers for a conventionaloffice building. The mayor’s assertion was neither the metal norconventional building options were of the stability needed for asecure and enduring police station.

In addition to this, the old highway patrol building wasdeclared by Director of Public Works Steve Moreton to bestructurally sound, and definitely more secure than other optionslike metal or conventional buildings.

Maxwell cited nearby building activity in support of hisclaims.

“They’re putting up a metal building across from the new postoffice, and it’s really nice,” said Maxwell.

“We deal with issues every day that could be hashed andrehashed, but we’re here to represent the people of Brookhaven,”said Massengill. “I have no ax to grind in this matter. The boardmade a decision and it’s time to move on.”