Mayor touts current term accomplishments

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2009

On the second day of qualifying for the 2009 city elections,Mayor Bob Massengill reminded the board of aldermen of all theprojects they have brought to fruition during the last term,although adding there is remains much to be done.

The board voted on a list of their top 10 priorities last year,and five of the proposed priorities received a unanimous vote.

“I might tell you some things you know but may not have thoughtabout in a while,” said Massengill, who will not be seekingre-election this year. “There are also still some things we need toaccomplish, or that the board will need to in the future.”

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The top five priorities garnering unanimous votes were economicdevelopment, downtown revitalization, systematically replacingequipment, continued paving and tending to infrastructureneeds.

“Along with the county, we purchased 400 acres for LinbrookBusiness Park,” Massengill said. “We’ve constructed Phase One,which is the water well and a million gallon tank, and we’ve begunPhase Two, which is roads and sewer and water.”

Massengill said the city’s Web site has also been a positiveaccomplishment toward economic development, as well as thefinalization of the speculative building, which will have a tenantshortly. In addition, the board has continued to work with theIndustrial Development Foundation to make Brookhaven an attractiveplace for industry.

Another stride in the right direction of economic development isthe city’s first comprehensive plan in 25 years, the mayorsaid.

“This should direct the city in years to come and will bepresented to the board and the public very soon,” Massengillsaid.

Downtown revitalization has also been moving along smoothly,with the Bradford pear trees in the downtown areas having beenreplaced with sasanqua trees, which bloom year round.

“We also installed attractive lighting on Whitworth and Railroadavenues,” Massengill said, adding that the city’s holidaydecorations were improved and tax incentives have been implementedfor downtown development.

“We’ll also continue to strive to find an attractive businessfor the burned corner and we’ll do all we can to see that thedowntown remains a vital part of this community,” he said.

Equipment replacement has continued, with several thousanddollars being figured into the budget each year to work towardkeeping city equipment updated.

“We want to be able to replace it when it’s needed and not whenit completely wears out,” Massengill said. “And we still have moreto go, among the more costly of those being that we need a new firetruck and a new dozer at the landfill.”

Streets in all six wards have been paved as funding has allowed,the mayor said, with other streets being identified and scheduledfor improvement.

Massengill said in the last few years Monticello Street andHighway 51 have been repaved with the help of the MississippiDepartment of Transportation. Approximately $4 million worth ofpaving has been done in recent years, he said, but there is stillmuch to be done.

Many infrastructure needs, which are not always immediatelyevident because some are underground, have been addressed throughthe last term, Massengill said. He cited sewer projects, reworkingof two water wells, and the purchase of generators for liftstations, and the water, police and fire departments as strides inthe right directions.

“And we’ve completely renovated the old highway patrol buildingfor our new police department, and they’ll move in in the nextcouple of weeks,” he said.

Massengill also reminded the board of the removal of 15 years ofaccumulated sludge at the wastewater treatment plant, improvementsat the airport, the addition of cluster lighting at Interstate 55Exit 40, and other projects that have been a part of the currentterm.

Also, the current administration weathered Hurricane Katrina,Massengill said, seeing to the cleanup and dealing with theaftermath and devastation.

“There have been some days of joy and some days of not so muchjoy,” he said. “But particularly those of you who will be runningfor office, think about these things and pass them along to yourconstituents.”