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Aldermen discuss sewer, paving projects

This summer should be one of progress in Brookhaven for some major construction endeavors, Mike McKenzie of WGK Engineering said at Tuesday’s board of aldermen meeting.

McKenzie addressed the board on the status of the ward four sewer rehabilitation project funded by a block grant. McKenzie said the video taken last year as a way to identify deficiencies in the lines has been evaluated and a cost estimate has been made. The damage to the aging sewer lines was estimated at $1.4 million, and lines with the most damage have been identified so as to move forward with what can repaired with the $800,000 in construction funds available.

McKenzie explained the process that will be used to repair the sewer lines, explaining that most of the pipes can be re-lined with a more effective material rather than digging up streets to replace them.

“The vast majority of it will be done by relining the pipes that are there,” McKenzie said. “We want to avoid – practically at all costs – tearing up any streets.

“There are some that will be dug up and replaced, because that’s the cheapest way to address that, but most of the money will be spent relining existing pipes that are under the streets right now”

McKenzie assuaged board concerns that the project is a permanent solution rather than a temporary fix.

“There is a long, long track record of using this material and it withstanding the forces it needs to withstand,” he said.

The board will hold a work session to further evaluate the findings of the sewer tests before accepting bids on the project.

The board approved a motion to accept a bid from Dickerson and Bowen for the paving of Brookway Blvd., pending MDOT and federal highway authorities’ approval. McKenzie said the lower of the two bids received is roughly $10,000 cheaper than the single bid they received back in December 2014 – influenced by a recent decrease in asphalt prices.

This decrease in asphalt price could possibly make it easier for the board to move forward with paving work the board agreed was a priority. David Phillips, Alderman Ward six, asked that the board consider allocating $2 million to be divided amongst the wards and to the mayor to be used for the city’s major thoroughfares. Each Alderman agreed to make a prioritized list of paving needs in their wards to be evaluated at a later date.

Josie B. Hightower and Roy Smith also addressed the board on the subject of a community pool. Hightower cited the need for more community outlets to better the youth of Brookhaven. Hightower and Smith noted that there are many young people who do not know how to swim, and presently might not have adequate opportunities to learn.

Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates said he agreed with the importance of the establishment of a community pool, and that it is something he would like to see done.

The board was also addressed by Bernetta M. Character, NAACP President, who suggested the establishment of a Community Police Advisory Board. Character voiced concerns that in small towns with small police forces, impartially investigating improper actions or misconduct between officers is unlikely. She stated the board would address complaints and generally support positive relations and cooperation between the community and the police force.

In other business the board voted to approve the following:

-The closing of the 300 block of South Church St. (Brookhaven Elementary) on May 19 from 4-9 p.m. for a P.T.A. function.

-The advertising of bids for repairing the roof of the Union Station Depot.

– The lowest quote of J & J Lawn and Landscaping for a two-year contract expiring mid-March 2017.

– The C.D.B.G. cash request and requisition with invoices on the 2014 sewer improvement Project.

Mayor Joe Cox said the board recessed the meeting until noon April 12.