Aldermen plan to amend burn ordinance

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Photo by Alex Jacks/City attorney Joe Fernald proposes revisions to the city’s burn ordinance at the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday.

Photo by Alex Jacks/City attorney Joe Fernald proposes revisions to the city’s burn ordinance at the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday.

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen discussed revising the city’s burn ordinance at it’s meeting Tuesday after several undocumented burns occurred over the weekend.

City attorney Joe Fernald proposed the board revise the ordinance to allow for a more stringent documentation process in order to protect all those involved in a burn.

Fernald drafted the current burn ordinance during the city’s annexation.

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“When we annexed into the city, there were a number of people coming in who were clearing land and they didn’t want to be in a position where they couldn’t burn tops and things like that,” Fernald said. “This ordinance covers every eventuality. The problem is not so much the burn ordinance, but the permitting and the control of it. We’ve had a couple of incidents, but there was another one this weekend.”

Fire Chief Tony Weeks explained that he never saw the people who were burning debris on Natchez Avenue this weekend, and he wanted to prevent that in the future.

“I think that I should be able to monitor this,” Weeks said. “If someone comes to me, I should be able to tell them, ‘Hey, let’s do this with forced air, a burn pit. Let’s do it right.’”

Fernald proposed the board amend the ordinance to set up a record keeping system.

“What is going to happen is this — from now on when someone comes to see the chief about burn ordinances, he’ll issue the permit,” Fernald said. “He will deliver it in triplicate — one to the mayor or the clerk’s office, one to me and he’ll keep the original. Everybody will have one. The person obtaining the permit will get a copy of the ordinance with it. The ordinance will be stapled to the front of it. We also want to know who’s going to be responsible, who’s going to be there, all this kind of stuff. We want to be a little more involved. We are going to give the chief a chance to do the record keeping and then we will go from there.”

The board agreed to allow Fernald to make the ordinance changes to be brought back for a vote.

City paving

Ryan Holmes, an engineer with Dungan Engineering, updated the board on the city’s $3.1 million paving project. Since work began on the project in January, 90 percent of the 77 streets have been paved.

Holmes anticipates Dickerson & Bowen, the project contractor, will complete the project by the middle of July. The company has until the end of July to complete the paving, he said.

Holmes does not foresee the project going over the city’s proposed budget.

In other board business:

• A community member requested the board refund her $600 for her aunt’s Hillcrest gravesite, after it was determined that the plot was in the middle of a walkway. The gravesite was purchased before the cemetery made it a walkway, according to the community member.

• Holmes informed the board that he expects the contracts pertaining to the Old Train Depot should arrive from E. Cornell Malone Corp. in Jackson, the project contractor.

• Holmes reminded the board that bids for re-striping and crack sealing the airport runway will open July 14 at 10 a.m.

• Holmes updated the board on the progress he has made with the downtown parking renovation research. Holmes collected more than 72 hours of video at the six downtown intersections for he and his colleagues to analyze. The data will allow him to provide the board with a recommendation on whether or not to proceed with parking and traffic flow renovations.

• Building inspector David Fern informed the board of a public hearing on Tuesday, July 19, at 5:30 p.m. to determine whether or not certain properties are in such a state of uncleanliness as to be a menace to the public health and safety of the community.