Brookhaven man seeks clarification on courthouse move

Published 11:00 am Monday, June 3, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Andre Spiller wore a different hat in the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday. Literally, he wore a blue Dallas Cowboys hat Monday but figuratively, Spiller — a Brookhaven alderman — was there as a citizen to ask the supervisors a question. 

The City of Brookhaven has discussed a potential move from the Lincoln County Courthouse for several years. Aldermen started to set the potential move in motion this summer according to reports in The Daily Leader by seeking appraisals on two buildings. The Daily Leader reported the board looked into the Kees building and former Harrigill-Hartman Funeral Home in May 2023. In February 2024,  the city moved further along in those discussions. 

Former District 4 supervisor Eddie Brown brought the city’s plans to the attention of the board in Oct. 2023. He stated they needed to plan ahead and wanted people to be aware of what the city was planning to do. Lincoln County has to buy out the city’s 20 percent claim on the building under an interlocal agreement from 1980. 

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Spiller mentioned Brown’s discussion before asking a simple question. 

“I wear many hats and at this time, I’m not an alderman, I’m a citizen right now. Does the county want the city out?” Spiller asked the Board of Supervisors. 

Lincoln County Board Attorney Greg Malta said “It is not relevant what the County wants, the city can leave under the 1980 interlocal agreement.”

Spiller asked again if the County wanted the city out of the courthouse.

Malta said, “No, the county never asked for the city to leave.” 


History of recent action

In April 2024, City and County appraisals came in for the courthouse. Supervisors approved Board Attorney Greg Malta to negotiate with the city on the terms of the buyout. Lincoln County offered the City  $2.7 million to buy out their 20 percent ownership in May. 

Brookhaven’s Board of Aldermen voted to enter contract negotiations to lease the Harrigill-Hartman Funeral Home at 101 Chickasaw Street on May 23. John Lynch owns the property. Notably, Aldermen Don Underwood and Spiller voted against the motion.  

Spiller told The Daily Leader he voted against the motion because the Board had not to-date been able to negotiate with the Kees family, the owners of the Kees Automotive Building at the corner of South First and East Cherokee streets — which the Board had previously discussed as an option for the relocation of the City’s offices.

The City and County have not finalized a deal on the courthouse buyout. 

Brookhaven’s Board of Aldermen meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the courthouse.