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City needs more money for senior citizens center

The much-anticipated Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizens Center remainson track to be built, but a representative of the architecture firmmasterminding the project Tuesday raised the possibility ofpursuing additional funding.

Joey Henderson of JBHM Architects told aldermen Tuesday thatwhen bids closed on the project last week, the low bid of $979,700was well above the funds budgeted for the project.

Henderson said his company will negotiate with low bidder SmithPainting, a Brookhaven company, to see if there is some middleground that can be found. The board approved his suggestionunanimously.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bob Massengill said grant administrator WoodySample might be able to procure some additional funds for theproject.

“I talked with Woody Friday and today, and he feels through theMississippi Development Authority he may be able to get someadditional funds, maybe $25,000 to $28,000,” he said.

The city had set aside $350,000 last year to go toward theproject, which has gathered another $5,000 in interest. Inaddition, the Community Development Block Grant received for thecenter totals another $490,000.

Massengill said hopefully by negotiating with Smith Painting thecost could go down a little further, and with further funding fromgrants the project is still within reach.

“With all these things and the fact that we may be able to getmore from the state and we may be able to negotiate the price down,plus we have $5,000 more than we started with, we’ll be able tobuild this building,” he said.

City Public Works Director Steve Moreton also updated the boardon progress on the new police station that will be housed in theold Highway Patrol building on Highway 51 South. He said theproject is in the final stages of painting and concrete and otherdetails.

“As soon as the ground dries up we’ll get the slab poured forthe new sign out front and get it put up,” he said.

Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said while his departmentis ready to make the move, there are still things like radio andcomputer systems that need to be installed before the relocationcan be complete.

“We’ve still got several things we need to do before we can getthose things moving,” he said.

In other construction business, Massengill said work on theFunchess Ditch will be funded in a large part by a NationalResources and Conservation Services grant which will pay 85 percentof the costs, a total of $215,000.

Massengill said the city’s 15 percent match totals $32,350,which currently isn’t in the budget since officials weren’t sure ifthe project would be funded or not.

The project would widen and riprap the Ward Two ditch.

“This is a ditch I’ve been working on for years,” said Ward TwoAlderman Terry Bates. “It’s a ditch that goes down behind someresidences and it’s decaying.”