Aldermen targeting water, sewer work

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brookhaven aldermen approved a sewer and water repair project partially funded by a grant Tuesday and gave the city’s engineer the authority to seek terms for a $4 million loan to fund another round of proposed water and sewer projects.

     Any final decision on whether to borrow money, however, remain in the future.

     The board voted to apply for a CDBG grant that would fund 50 percent of costs for repairs to water and sewer lines in areas of Ward Two and Ward Three.

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     The cost of the project to the city would be about $600,000.

     The CDBG grant will come through the Mississippi Development Authority and is designed to target low and moderate income areas.

     Several aldermen questioned Mayor Les Bumgarner about the boundaries of the area to be repair. Terry Bates, of Ward Two, and Mary Wilson, of Ward Three, both asked why Honeysuckle Drive and Manson Street were not included in the plan.

     Bumgarner said including those streets would be excessively expensive.

     To provide those areas with city water and sewer services, lift stations would need to be built. Bumgarner said, typically, a lift station services about 30 people. On the streets in question, the ratio of lift stations to residents would be much lower, perhaps only two residents per lift station in some areas.

     “It’s not cost effective,” Bumgarner said. “That’s why they’ve never had sewer.”

     Objecting aldermen eventually agreed to accept the plan as proposed Tuesday night, but said they want to continue to pursue a remedy to Honeysuckle and Manson.

     Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes then pushed for board approval that the Oak Hill, Moreton Estates and Deer Run areas would be targeted for water and sewer improvements next.

     At a work session held several weeks ago, Mike McKenzie, of WGK Engineering, presented board members with a list of high need water and sewer areas. Board members at the time agreed Moreton Estates, Oak Hill and Deer Runs could be prioritized next.

     Estes pushed for a vote Tuesday night, pledging to seek the funding to complete the projects in those areas. The board did go on to vote that way.

     McKenzie has estimated $4 million might be needed for those areas, but warned those are only rough estimates.

     “It’s a back of the napkin figure,” McKenzie said.

     Given the board’s vote, McKenzie said he could seek out a bank willing to provide a loan to the city and determine the terms.

     Once loan terms are secured, bids can be taken for the project and the board will then determine whether they want to pursue the project and take out a loan.

     In other business, board members voted to ban the presence of dogs at City Park. Several aldermen said they’d received many complaints about the presence of dogs at the City Park walking trails.