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New beer ordinance approved

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Mike McKenzie of WGK Engineering passes out bid paperwork to the board of aldermen for city work on Chickasaw Street.

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Mike McKenzie of WGK Engineering passes out bid paperwork to the board of aldermen for city work on Chickasaw Street.

Board members released details of a regional recycling grant, approved a beer ordinance for the city and a final plat for the development of a subdivision at Tuesday’s board of aldermen meeting.

Due to the efforts of Ward Six Alderman David Phillips, Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes and Ward Two Alderman Reggie Bates, the city of Brookhaven is receiving just over $160,000 in grant money from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to be used towards a regional recycling drive. A total sum of $317,162 was awarded to Brookhaven, Natchez and Wilkinson County and divided between the three entities.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Phillips explained how the money would be spent. Equipment costs will account for $76,605 of the grant money; public education and outreach will be covered by $36,750, and personnel will cover $7,500 of the grant money.

“This will go along way towards improving recycling goals in the city. This should increase our recycling percentage and decrease disposal costs,” Phillips said.

“Eventually, this could lead to other recyclables down the road,” Alderman Estes said. “That may be ambitious now, but this is a great first step.”

The presentation of the grant will be made by the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality in Jackson April 24.

In other board meeting business, longtime builders Herschel and Joann Adams received the go ahead to begin development of a subdivision in the city after the board accepted a final plat presented by Ryan Holmes of Dungan Engineering. The subdivision will consist of eight homes and be built across from Brookhill Tennis and Swim Club.

In honor of her brother who died of cancer, Herschel and Joann Adams are naming the property Dean Hills Subdivision. The main street leading into the property will be named after Dean Hill.

The city of Brookhaven also has a new beer ordinance. Presented at the last aldermen’s meeting, board members passed the ordinance Tuesday night. Most of the ordinance is drafted in line with the Mississippi Alcohol and Beverage Control stipulations.

“It (the new ordinance) clears up confusion. The old ordinance was drafted so long ago, that much of it doesn’t apply anymore,” Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates said.

Previously, any establishment wishing to sell beer had to have been in operation for a year before being considered for a permit. With this restriction removed from the new ordinance, it makes it much easier for an establishment to get a permit, Bates noted. The ordinance stipulates that an establishment must derive 25 percent of their revenue from the sale of food before they can apply for a beer permit.

City Attorney Joe Fernald noted a special exemption in the ordinance that would allow city officials some leeway in future permitting decisions.

Oddee Smith and Sons Construction received bid approval from the board to begin repair work on city sewer lines that will cost $242,609. A concrete arch pipe that will snake through an area of Chickasaw street and into an existing channel will comprise much of the work. Work will begin “after school gets out,” and shouldn’t take longer than the 90 days allotted for the project, WGK Engineer Mike McKenzie said.

The board also approved just over $30,000 for work on the Bethel spray park pad.

In personnel matters, the board honored City Clerk Michael Jinks for obtaining a Master Clerk designation, a recognition Jinks has been working on since 2008. The designation represents the completion of advanced educational programs aimed at performing complex municipal duties. The board also approved a proclamation declaring May 4-10 as municipal clerk’s week. Deputy Clerk Marsha Farman stepped in for Jinks at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Brookhaven Chief of Police Bobby Bell requested the board approve a pay raise for three officers that were recently certified after completion of Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer’s Training.

The board approved salary increases for three street department workers, one cemetery department worker and a water department worker. The board also accepted the resignation of a fire department official.

Citing potential damage to city aquifers and deep water wells, as well as existing fiber optic lines, Public Works Director Steve Moreton suggested the board take moves to determine liability if damage to city infrastructure occurs. The board will review Moreton’s suggestions and revisit the matter at the next board of aldermen meeting April 29.