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Joe Cox re-elected city of Brookhaven’s mayor

Republican Mayor Joe Cox swept through the municipal election Tuesday night, taking 59 percent of the vote to defeat Democrat David D. “SWAC” Smith and win a second four-year term in Brookhaven.

Cox, 62, received 1,923 votes to Smith’s 1,343 in unofficial results which included affidavit and absentee votes. Of 7,514 registered voters, 3,340 voted in the general election. Slightly more than 300 of those were cast absentee.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the citizens of Brookhaven for electing me to serve a second term as your mayor,” Cox said in a written statement. “I am humbled by the support, and look forward to getting to serve the Home Seekers Paradise another four years. I am eager to move forward with the new Board of Aldermen as we work together to make Brookhaven even better than before. Thank you again for the encouragement and support.”

The mayor handled city business with the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen at the regular monthly meeting, then settled into his office in the Lincoln County Government Complex to wait for returns to come in.

Friends and family waited with him, squeezing into the office for a pre-results celebration.

Brookhaven, based on its population of  12,513, according to the 2010 Census, is divided into six wards with an alderman-at-large as well. Mayor and aldermen are considered full-time jobs as is police chief.

The mayor’s annual salary is about $71,000.

Cox has owned and operated Joe Cox Insurance Services since 1983. He’s married to Angie Cox and they have two grown children and a grandson. He is a graduate of Brookhaven High School and the University of Mississippi and attends Faith Presbyterian Church.

Cox said before the primary election in May that the city has made great progress in his four years and has worked well as a team with a “spirit of cooperation resulting in well over 90 percent of unanimous votes” by the board.

“We have maintained a balanced budget while managing $12.5 million in general funds, plus water, sewer and solid waste monies, kept expenses under revenues, overseen the day-to-day operations of the city, as well as 157 employees, facilitated opportunities for economic development, completed the city’s most comprehensive paving project involving 77 streets, and continue working toward the perpetual need to expand and improve our infrastructure,” he said. “We obtained over $4.1 million in grants through federal, state, and private funds and grant writers to help with the cost of everything from CDBG sewer improvements and FAA projects, to one of our most recent appropriations for the paving of Manufacturer’s Boulevard, which resulted from meetings with elected officials in Washington, D.C.”

“We partnered with the county through contracting The Retail Coach to enhance local retail businesses and economic development, continued development of Linbrook (Business Park) and completed construction of the spec building in order to attract new industry by offering a ready-made facility, and development of the sports complex baseball facility.”

Under Cox’s leadership in the previous four years, the city improved the fire protection rating from PC 6 to PC 5, which resulted in lower fire insurance premiums and saving money for residents; completed the Brignal and Linbrook water and sewer systems; established the Linbrook Fire District; assisted with American Railcar Industries’ expansion to Brookhaven; coordinated Brookhaven Airport renovations of the fixed base operator and runway; completed the Brookhaven Community Center (formerly known as the FEMA Building); established a centralized city hot line for residents to call with concerns and issues; created the Brookhaven Tourism Council; privatized the water treatment plant; renovated city parks; revised municipal codes; and participated in commercial and industrial business recruitment.

Now that the election is over, he’ll turn his full attention to city projects that are scheduled to begin this year: LED street light replacement project, construction of the city’s largest water and sewer project, replacement of fluoridation equipment for the city water system and the completion of the Union Station Depot renovation project. 

“The most significant infrastructure needs in the city continue to be our aging water and sewer systems,” he said in late April. “Through fiscal responsibility, we have managed an annual budget of over $15.5 million and kept expenses under revenues since 2013, while continuing to meet the perpetual need for expansion and improvement to our infrastructure.”