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Online water bill payments start

Brookhaven residents now have a new way to pay their water bills.

     Ward Six Alderman David Phillips said at Tuesday night’s board meeting that online bill payments with the city water department began Monday.

     “People are starting to use it,” he said.

     Phillips said customers can go to the city’s website at www.brookhavenms.com and follow a link to the payment site.

     “People have been asking for it,” Phillips said.

     The alderman added, though, there is a fee for the service. For customers who use the minimum amount of water, there is a $1.84 fee added on to the bill.

     In other business, Police Chief Pap Henderson updated board members on plans to enlarge the city’s dog pound. He said the current facility at the landfill, which is now holding about 18 dogs, is out of space.

     “We do have a lot of dogs in this town and we do have a lot we pick up,” Henderson said.

     To help address the situation, the chief said he is looking to add about 20 kennels at the facility. He said he is hoping to use city labor to construct the kennels and would be asking for budget funding after determining the cost of cement and other materials.

     Also Tuesday, aldermen approved new enterprise and free port warehouse property tax exemptions for Rex Lumber as a follow-up aspect to an agreement when the company located in Brookhaven. The agreement required the company to be in operation one year, which it has been after going into production in May 2011.

     Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cliff Brumfield said Rex has 120 full-time employees and an annual payroll of around $4.4 million. It has also made an approximately $29 million investment in the Brookhaven plant.

     “We’re very excited about that,” Brumfield said.

     Doug Boykin, Rex general manager, said the company is continuing to add on and make investments. He also updated city officials on operations and lumber shipments.

     “Everything we’ve got is going out, either by truck or by rail,” Boykin said.

     Visitors to Tuesday’s farmers market inside the multi-modal transportation facility may have been a little uncomfortable after air-conditioning coils for part of the facility went out recently.

     Mayor Les Bumgarner said the unit is out of warranty after a year and needs to be fixed or replaced. Aldermen authorized the mayor to have repairs made or replace the unit, which could cost around $6,000.

     Public Works Director Steve Moreton pointed out the air conditioning in the facility’s restroom area was still functioning well.

     “It’s nice, but I don’t think you want to have the farmers market in there,” quipped Moreton.