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Proposed city budget has water, sewer hikes

Brookhaven aldermen spent nearly an hour Thursday flipping through line items in the proposed FY 2019 budget, which will likely include a 50-cent increase each for water and sewer.

The board will meet Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex for a public hearing on the budget. That will be the public’s chance to ask questions about the budget and put in their two cents on how aldermen will spend their dollars. Aldermen will take the comments under advisement and gather for a budget meeting at 6:30 p.m. to make more tweaks to the document.

Aldermen are expected to adopt the budget Sept. 4 at a regularly scheduled board meeting at 6:30 p.m. The new budget takes effect Oct. 1.

City Clerk Samantha Melancon said the budget will not require a tax hike, though the board will likely follow the recommendation of the Mississippi State Department of Health and go up 50 cents for water and 50 cents for sewer for each customer.

“They advise you to do that every year to keep up and we still don’t keep up,” Mayor Joe Cox said.

There won’t be an increase for solid waste, which is the garbage and debris pick-up, though Arrow Disposal Service Inc. will be picking up just once a week instead of two.

Cox said the rates had not increased in six years, so they’re trying to hold the rates the same by reducing the number of pickups each week.

“Basically what we were trying to do was avoid a rate increase,” he said. “Based on information and tracking and what have you, basically once a week is enough if you’re recycling anyway and that encourages more people to recycle.”

The county collection is also once a week.

Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore, Ward 3 Alderwoman Mary Wilson and Ward 4 Alderman Jason Snider did not attend the budget meeting Thursday in which Cox, Melancon and the four aldermen present discussed expenditures in various departments for odds and ends like court fees, sidewalk repair, grass-cutting, vehicle purchases, cemetery phone service and record preservation.

The special-called meeting set for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to further discuss the budget has been canceled.