City sewer project plans upset official

Published 6:23 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lincoln County District One Supervisor the Rev. Jerry Wilson charged Monday that Brookhaven Mayor Les Bumgarner was not truthful with him regarding a planned city sewer project, an accusation the mayor later denied.

     The issue surfaced during Monday’s supervisors’ meeting when the project came up for discussion. Wilson left the county boardroom and went to talk to Bumgarner in the mayor’s office.

     An upset Wilson returned a short time later and said the sewage project plan had been changed by the mayor.

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     The proposal calls for repairs to be made to sewage lines in Wards Two and Three of the city.

     Wilson, who attended an earlier sewage project meeting as a concerned citizen and not in an official capacity, wanted new lines to be put in for people around Mason Street and Honeysuckle Drive in the city, who did not have sewage and water lines.

     Ward Two is represented by Terry Bates and Ward Three by Wilson’s wife, Mary.

     Rev. Wilson contended that he had an agreement with Bumgarner about the project, but the mayor changed the plan later on. Wilson expressed his feelings during Monday’s meeting.

     “It’s the principle of the matter,” Wilson said. “You should be truthful.”

     When contacted later, Bumgarner denied Wilson’s claims.

     Bumgarner said Wilson came to the sewage meeting and wanted a different proposal than the one that was tentatively selected, but Wilson was the only one who supported his plan. The mayor added that the plan being pursued would benefit far more people than the one Wilson supports.

     “I made it perfectly clear this would be the next project,” Bumgarner said. “Rev. Wilson doesn’t get to decide where we do our projects.”

     Bumgarner said the situation for the people in the project is getting worse with sewage backing up in their homes.

     “The people he (Wilson) picked, their situation is not getting worse, it’s just the same,” Bumgarner said. “They don’t currently have water and sewer.”

     The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen is scheduled to take up the proposal during their Tuesday meeting.

     The four other supervisors made no comment about Wilson’s accusations during their meeting.