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Brookhaven moves ahead with utility services

Though it took longer than officials and residents had hoped, some areas annexed by Brookhaven years ago will finally get water and sewer service from the city.

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen recently 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.

When the city finalized the annexation in 2007, it could not have predicted the economic downturn that hurt tax collections and city finances. At the time, officials promised fire and police protection, road maintenance, garbage service and water and sewer service. Everything but the water and sewer service was easy enough to handle, but city leaders were hesitant to borrow the funds necessary to expand water and sewer service.

That’s understandable, but it has been a source of frustration for those residents affected. And while they have not been paying for water/sewer service from the city, they have been paying city property taxes that cover the fire and police protection, as well as road maintenance.

Now that the loans have been finalized, this chapter of Brookhaven’s annexation effort will finally be closed. It wasn’t without controversy and setbacks, but it has been beneficial to the city. When the water/sewer project is completed, it will in turn be beneficial to those impacted.