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Brookhaven OKs $8.5M water, sewer improvements in annexed areas

Promises made by Brookhaven public officials in the mid-2000s for water and sewer in several annexed neighborhoods may soon become more than plans on paper.

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen this week voted to finalize two 20-year loans — which total $8.5 million — to begin the Annexation Improvements Project. Engineers expect construction to begin in March or April.

The loans, through the State Revolving Fund, are from Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for sewer service and the state Department of Health for water. The MDEQ loan is for $5,583,000 at 1.95 percent. The MDH loan is for $2,934,000 at 1.75 percent. Both are for 237 months.

City engineer Mike McKenzie, a principal with WGK Engineers & Surveyors, said plans include:

• Water and sewer into Deer Run

• Water and sewer into Moreton Estates

• Water only along Natchez Drive from Zetus Road to Hwy 84

• Sewer only into Lakewood Village

• Water only out East Monticello to Crooked Lane, up Crooked Lane to Old Highway 51, along Ozark Lane to Williams Street, and along Williams Street between Ozark Lane and Crooked Lane

• Water only along Sawmill Lane between Old Highway 51 and Industrial Park Road

• Water along Hwy. 51 North from Industrial Park Road to New Sight Drive

• Sewer along Hwy. 51 North from Heritage Family Church to New Sight Drive and into Pandora Subdivision

• Sewer only into Weed Lane,  a portion of Country Club Drive and a portion of North Jackson Street

• Water only along Union Street Extension, from Industrial Park Road to I-55

In 2014, McKenzie’s project status report showed that the plans were expected to cost a maximum of $8 million, which was approved by the board at that time. Plans were then submitted to MDEQ and MDH.

McKenzie said he brought it back to the board Tuesday night because the project was expected to cost a bit more than the original estimate. Besides paying for extension of water and sewer lines into the neighborhoods, the project also includes renovations and repairs of the Brookhaven Waste Water Treatment Plant, he said.

Greenbriar was the lowest bidder for the water and sewer expansion at $6,390,000 million. The treatment plant renovations are another $1.1 million, and the rest is engineering and other associated costs, McKenzie said.

“We started working on the project four years ago,” he said. “We started talking to the city board for two years prior to that. It’s been in the works for a long time.”

But the idea of the project began as far back as 2005 — under former Mayor Bob Massengill — when Brookhaven began the process of annexing parts of Lincoln County. An article published in The Daily Leader in 2014 said when the annexation was completed in 2007, officials said the annexation was necessary to keep the city fiscally viable. The annexation increased the city’s population by about 3,000 people and would be more appealing to new industry and business while allowing room for further expansion, officials said at the time.

The annexation came with the promise of expanding city services including fire protection, police services, parks, road maintenance, solid waste and water and sewer to annexed areas.

Those residents will soon be able to get rid of septic tanks and wells.

“We’re going in and installing water and sewer lines where they don’t presently exist,” he said.

Once homes are connected, residents will start receiving bills from the city for those fee-based services, McKenzie said.