City hears from public on budget: City pound money won’t bring facility to BARL standards

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Several residents brought concerns and questions to Tuesday’s public hearing on the city of Brookhaven’s proposed budget.

Lu Becker from Brookhaven Animal Rescue League came to address the Board of Aldermen on the city pound, which will be called the Brookhaven City Shelter. Becker said she wanted to clarify to the board that the $20,000 allocation for renovating and upgrading the existing facility would not bring it up to BARL standards, but rather humane standards. The city shelter and BARL will continue to be separate entities as city shelters are legally required to provide euthanasia.

“It’s not going to be fabulous but it will be humane,” Becker said.

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Mayor Joe Cox said “It will be an improvement and we appreciate your efforts.”

Glen Martin, a resident in Ward 4, came to thank the board for all that it does for the city. Martin went on to ask about liquor legalization, and if there’s any record of how much in taxes it has been brought in or if anyone has tried to measure any increases or relation-
ships to crime rates.

“Personally I think I and some other folks have noticed some differences in Brookhaven in the last couple years,” Martin said. “And I don’t know if we’ll ever know why, but I question us considering any amount of money worth human life or whatever have been the consequences.”

Alderman Ward 4 Shirley Estes said she has heard comments from Police Chief Bobby Bell that police do not think any changes in crime are alcohol-related. Estes said it seems to be more related to a drug culture that has been around for a long time.

Alderman Ward 6 David Phillips said he thought the ABC would have the liquor store sales numbers and what the stores bought, but not by-the-glass sales. It was said that sales tax revenue was a secondary factor to economic development reasons for liquor legalization.

Roy Smith addressed the board on the need for a public swimming pool. Smith cited the need for children to learn how to swim as a safety measure.

For weeks leading up to the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1, city officials and agencies have been preparing the 2015-2016 budget. The city of Brookhaven anticipates no tax increase in the new budget. According to city officials, revenue for 2015-2016 is estimated to increase $75,000.

City Clerk Mike Jinks said last week that the 2014-2015 general fund budget was approximately $12 million, and that this coming fiscal year’s budget is expected to stay close to the $12 million mark.

The mayor and Board of Aldermen anticipate adopting the 2015-2016 proposed budget at the regular board meeting Sept. 15. at 6:30 p.m.