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Alderman talk well request in closed meeting

Despite spending more than one hour discussing the matter in aclosed meeting Monday night, Brookhaven aldermen still have noanswer for an incoming industry requesting several incentivesbefore opening shop.

In an executive session called to discuss possible contracts foreconomic development, aldermen debated a request by Great SouthernWood Preserving, Inc., to drill a water well on its property. GSWPneeds its own well to furnish the wood treatment process it uses tomanufacture YellaWood treated lumber, but city ordinances do notallow businesses to drill their own wells.

“For us, it’s a problem allowing that to happen because of thefact we have not let others who have requested wells in the past,too,” said Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell. “It also raises somequestions on our bond issues dealing with water and sewer.”

GSWP made its first appearance before Lincoln County supervisorsearlier this month, announcing its intention to create 15-20 jobsalmost immediately and begin operations by Feb. 1. The companypurchased parts of the former Columbus Lumber Co. grounds from newowner Rex Lumber LLC and plans to ship lumber in the SouthwestMississippi/Louisiana area.

Supervisors passed a resolution declaring their intention togrant the company several economic development incentives. Aldermenhave yet to signal their intentions toward the industry.

Maxwell said city officials are continuing to engage with GSWPdaily, and a special called meeting could take place before the newyear.

He hinted that further action could come based on discussionswith company officials and Brookhaven Mayor Les Bumgarner Tuesdayand Wednesday. Bumgarner was absent from Monday night’s meeting dueto illness.

Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes said aldermen are simplyworking through a process as always with economic development, andshe expects a compromise on the well to be reached.

“We have plenty of water to offer them,” she said. “I’moptimistic we’ll work it out. We want them to come down – they’re agood company with a good reputation.”