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Annexed water systems discussed

Options for the water systems in the annexation areas ofBrookhaven became a topic of conversation at the Board of Aldermenmeeting Wednesday night.

Alderman at large Les Bumgarner brought up a fire that occurredDec. 27 on Kelly Road in the Brignall area in which the home waslost in part due to the lack of hydrants in the area. Bumgarnerasked the board what needed to be done to prevent such problems inthe future.

The current water system is owned by Lincoln Rural Water, andthe closest hydrant is one the city installed on Highway 51 inanticipation of the annexation.

“We can’t move in unless we purchase the water system up there,”said Mayor Bob Massengill. “That is why we’ll have an engineerworking with them.”

City Attorney Joe Fernald reminded the board that water systemswere discussed during the annexation trial, and that the city couldhave to buy the systems from the rural water companies that ownthem.

“Why can’t we compete with them, and run our own water systemsout there?” asked Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell.

After the board noted that was not a possibility, Ward FourAlderwoman Shirley Estes said she had seen situations in which acity leased a water system from a rural company after anannexation.

“So in the meantime, all we can do is ask them to installhydrants?” asked Maxwell.

Fernald told him the engineers would need to take a look at thecurrent system and determine the best course of action, but thatthey could not be required to bring them up to city code becausethe old water systems would be grandfathered in.

On a related note, Massengill told the board that WillifordGearhart & Knight will be serving the city as engineers tohandle the water and sewer developments in the annexation areas.The aldermen had submitted votes and scores on three engineeringfirms, and WGK had merited first in both scoring systems.

Massengill also reminded the board that the city had receivedword last week that they had been alotted around $300,000 for thewater and sewer project, and that there were no specificrequirements yet, but that it looks as if the government will pay55 percent of the costs and the city will pay 45 percent.

“That means we’ll pay $245,000 locally, but we’ll have $545,000altogether,” said Massengill.

In other business, the Mayor said the signs for BrookwayBoulevard which bear the phrase, “Welcome to Brookhaven” are in thecity’s possession.

One of the signs, which are 14 feet wide, will go on theboulevard just in front of Mitchell’s restaurant, but that theother’s location is still being determined as the MississippiDepartment of Transportation has the final say.

“We’re looking for another location for the other,” saidMassengill. “The first one will probably be up in the next two tothree weeks.”

Estes suggested seeking consultation on landscaping fromBrookhaven Beautiful or perhaps the Master Gardeners to go aroundthe signs.

The board also decided to begin plans for another trip toWashington to meet with the Congressional delegation as they doalmost every year. Board members noted that it’s better to send agroup and have the needs of the city heard than not to.

Massengill told the board members to begin deciding if they’dlike to go on the trip, and that dates will be determined in thefuture.