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Maxwell speaks at candidate forum

Independent mayoral candidate D.W. Maxwell trumpeted his experience in city government and his vision for Brookhaven during a forum held Monday night by the Brookhaven Tea Party.

“None of the other candidates have any city government experience,” Maxwell said of his opponents in the mayor’s race. “None of them have worked with any of the department heads. I have.”

An open invitation was offered to municipal election candidates, but only Maxwell showed up at the Tea Party forum.

In the mayor’s race, Maxwell faces Democrat David Smith, Republican Joe Cox and independent candidate Rose “Polly” Powell.

Maxwell is running as an independent.

Besides emphasizing his eight years as an alderman representing Ward Five, Maxwell discussed his plans should voters elect him Brookhaven’s next mayor.

If elected, he said there’s some “housecleaning” he’d like to take care of within city government. This includes writing formal wage scales and job classifications for city employees.

Maxwell tentatively suggested a system whereby city employees would receive a raise each year in the first five years of their employment and then a cost of living adjustment every year thereafter.

Maxwell defended the past practice of granting raises each year to city employees, including aldermen, the latter a move that generally passes on a narrow 4-3 vote.

He characterized these as cost of living adjustments and said small, annual increases are needed every year to prevent larger, periodic pay spikes.

After tending to these internal affairs, Maxwell said he plans to work closely with the local chamber of commerce to promote the Linbrook Business Park and aggressively court new industry and business.

Plans to further revitalize downtown, including sidewalk repair and free Wi-Fi, were also among Maxwell’s plans.

In a brief question-and-answer session, the lack of water and sewer infrastructure in annexed areas of the city was raised.

Maxwell explained that the city will have to borrow money to install the new infrastructure. Water and sewer rates will have to be raised to pay off the loan, he explained, because the water and sewer funds must be self-sustaining through user fees.

The mayoral hopeful added that some residents are happy with their well and pump systems and don’t want city water or sewer. He said he wants to conduct a survey to determine how many residents of annexed areas want city water and sewer services.