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Fire loop project ahead of schedule

Water and sewer projects continue todominate city aldermen meetings, with the board hearing anotherprogress report on the Brignall fire loop at Tuesday night’smeeting and discussing expansion of city water into annexedareas.

    Mike McKenzie, of Williford, Gearhart & Knight Engineering,reported that Greenbriar Digging is ahead of schedule on finishingthe Brignall fire loop, with only about 800 feet remaining to becompleted.

    The $452,099 project is covered by a 50/50 grant in which the citypays half of the cost.

    McKenzie also said that the Lincoln Rural Water Association, whichprovides water and sewer services to the Brignall area, is willingto turn over several of its customers in the area to the city waterdepartment.

    “A few of their customers are on very long lines, 400 feet or so,”McKenzie said.

    McKenzie said once Lincoln Rural Water takes official action onthis and puts it in writing, the few customers in question can beadded fairly easily.

    Mayor Les Bumgarner also presented to the board a plan to bring insome residents within the city’s annexed area that remain on wellwater.

    The mayor’s plan proposes taking in areas of Natchez Drive notcurrently on city water all the way to Highway 84, including theDeer Run, Oak Hill and Moreton Estates areas. The plan would addcity water services and fire hydrants.

    The plan does not yet detail funding sources for the project.

    “I think this area should be our first priority,” said Bumgarner,speaking of the annexed areas that still lack city water.

    The proposed area is in Ward 4, and Ward 4 Alderman Shirley Estesvoiced approval of the plan.

    “This area has the potential to be highly developed,” Estes said.”I would seriously like to address this.”

    Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell did not disagree that the area wasa high priority one.

    “There are some nice houses out there we need to get water to,”Maxwell said.

    However, he did voice reservations when Estes made a motion theboard move forward with the intent to complete the mayor’splan.

    “We’ve got some commercial areas in my ward you’ve got to address,”Maxwell said.

    Maxwell suggested a work session would be a more appropriate venueto discuss the details of providing water services to annexed areasand objected to the fact that no board member received advancenotice of the mayor’s plan prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

    “You can’t just pop something in here and vote on it,” Maxwellsaid.

    Bumgarner said any vote at Tuesday’s meeting would only bepreliminary and further discussion and votes would be required.

    Once the motion moved to a vote, it passed unanimously.

    The city board also approved a five-year exemption on ad valoremtaxes for M & M Milling.

    Cliff Brumfield, local chamber of commerce executive vicepresident, appeared before the board to discuss the exemption.According to Brumfield, the company paid their full 2010 taxes andwill pay their 2011 taxes. The exemption does not begin until2012.

    As is common in these types of arrangements, because of theeconomic benefit they are eligible for a partial exemption to theirproperty taxes,” Brumfield said in an interview before themeeting.

    “In the state of Mississippi you don’t file your exemption untilthe project is near completion,” he said.

    Brumfield said the company currently employs 14 and hopes to have25 to 40 employees within the first 24 months of production.