City of Brookhaven and C-Spire fiber to the home update

OUR TURN

We feel that a recent letter to The Daily Leader does not present a true picture of the negotiations between CSpire and the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

First, we have always supported CSpire and others that provide services to our citizens.  We presently have lease agreements with them to mount antennas on the “smoke stack” for their communications system.  Even as this letter is being written, CSpire is installing their high-speed internet cable throughout the business districts of Brookhaven, complying with our municipal building codes and permitting process and paying applicable fees.  We are proud that CSpire is a homegrown corporation with a national reputation for quality service.  However, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen have the responsibility to deliberate in the best interest of the people of Brookhaven today and in the future.  We did just that in this case.

We wholeheartedly agree that visionary leadership is critical to the success of any municipality.  We do have a vision for Brookhaven; our concerns are predicated on our vision for Brookhaven’s future growth and development.  CSpire presented to us a franchise agreement that allowed their company to “erect, install, construct, operate, maintain, repair, replace, expand, and reconstruct its telecommunications system in any “Public Way” in the city.  During our meetings with CSpire representatives, the Board voiced the following concerns:

  • Special Exceptions. “Public Way” is defined in CSpire’s contract as “the surface of and the space above and below, any public street, highway, bridge, alley, sidewalk, easement, or other public right of way, including without limitation, public utility easements, dedicated utility strips, or rights of way dedicated for compatible uses held by the city in the service area.” The Mayor and Board of Alderman have a duty to regulate how utilities and telecommunications will be constructed and maintained along our “Public Way.”  In the history of the city, we have never delegated our statutory duty to any vendor.  Their agreement exempted them from any of our city ordinances, permitting fees of any kind, requirements, and codes.  Allowing one company to bypass these building codes and fees creates a special exception for the benefit of CSpire and to the detriment of the City of Brookhaven.  This significant competitive advantage would be unfair to all other franchises, utility companies, and residential or commercial builders; similar companies would be entitled to the same treatment, thereby gutting the future viability or our building code and related ordinances and creating a construction nightmare.
  • Long Contract Term. CSpire’s contract would allow for up to a 45-year term during which CSpire would have the right to have unrestricted access to the “Public Way” throughout the entire city.  We could not accept an agreement that could remain in effect until 2059, thereby limiting future boards’ duty to act in the best interest of future generations as set forth in the Mississippi Code.  State law provides for a maximum term of 25 years for a franchise.  Their contract term was nearly twice as long as the state allows.
  • No Obligation to Every Citizen. The proposed franchise stated that they “were under no obligation to build facilities to cover the entire city” and they would have sole right to determine “when and where to construct its facilities” and determination of what services to provide.  Presently, utilities and franchise such as cable are required to provide services to the entire city.  An unrestricted grant of access to all “Public Ways” for a potential term of 45 years should obligate CSpire to deliver services to the entire city.  Anything less would be unacceptable, an abdication of our duty to serve every citizen.  CSpire’s terms granted them unilateral authority and discretion to decide when and where to provide high speed internet services without any input from the City of Brookhaven.

We agree that Milton Whitworth had a vision when he signed an agreement with the railroad awarding them land to lay track and build rail yards in Brookhaven, but Mr. Whitworth had another vision – that the railroad would act in their best interest over the interest of the people of Brookhaven.  Whitworth protected Brookhaven’s interests.  Passenger service was critical to Brookhaven, and as consideration for the land awarded to the railroad, he secured a right of reverter stating that if passenger service were ever terminated in Brookhaven, all the land would be returned to Brookhaven.  Today, passenger service is still maintained at our multimodal facility constructed by the City of Brookhaven.

Vision was also an important factor concerning the Mississippi School for the Arts.  City fathers, wary of shifting political support and legislative whim, requested and received another reverter stating that in the event the State of Mississippi should close or move this school, the state would be required to place another educational facility on the campus or all the lands, buildings, and improvements would be returned to the City of Brookhaven.  Despite several attempts to move the school, the reverter protects the city.

Visionary leadership does not sponsor growth at any cost; in many instances it has the duty to say no if an opportunity runs contrary to the best interest of the future of our city.  It requires a firm grasp on grown opportunities.  It requires deliberation and discussion.  We did not suddenly decline to sign the agreement as stated in the letter.  At least three personal meetings, teleconferences, and discussions by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen at regular meetings focused on amending the agreement.  After hearing our concerns, CSpire’s representative advised us that their franchise agreement was not subject to amendment or changes and that the city would have to accept the terms as written.

We are obligated to make sound decisions in the best interest of the entire city.  We did just that.

Joe C. Cox, Mayor

Michael Jinks, City Clerk
Karen Sullivan, Alderman at Large
Randy Belcher, Alderman Ward 1
Terry L. Bates, Alderman Ward 2
Mrs. Mary H. Wilson, Alderwoman Ward 3
Shirley O. Estes, Alderman Ward 4
Fletcher Grice, Alderman Ward 5
David Phillips, Alderman Ward 6

Distribution of 35 gallon Recycling Containers

The City of Brookhaven will make available, through a Department of Environmental Quality grant,  a total of 900  35 gallon roll cart recycling containers to be distributed to the citizens of Brookhaven on a “first come, first serve” basis beginning November 3, 2014.

The purpose of this distribution is to reward our faithful recyclers with an easier method for containing recyclables and also to encourage new households to begin recycling.

Procedure for Distribution :

1.  City residents must come to the City Barn on Willard St to verify address and Brookhaven residency with Photo ID.
2.  Pick up point will be the City Barn on Willard St.
3.  Distribution will continue on a “first come, first serve” basis until the containers are gone.
4.  35 gallon containers will remain the property of the City of Brookhaven.
5.  Hours of pick up will be 8-3 Monday through Friday

Brookhaven Recycles!

Learn how easy recycling can be. Brookhaven Recycles aims to encourage more of us to recycle with an information program that shows the benefits of recycling and the dos and the don’ts of Brookhaven’s recycling system.

Click here to learn more!

City of Brookhaven Water and Sewer Expansion

The City of Brookhaven has begun the planning process for prioritizing the needs of the City’s water and sewer improvements and expansion.

This is the beginning of the next phase of improvements and expansion to the 2007 annexed area. It is not an expansion of the City’s physical boundaries – it is the next phase of water/sewer services into unserviced areas.

The City of Brookhaven has spent $1.7 million over the past 4 years in the annexed area and has approved construction to begin on another $1.7 million. That is a $3.4 million commitment by the City of Brookhaven to the annexed area.

A clean, safe, dependable water supply is a very valuable commodity as polluted water sources become more common. Safe drinking water for the residents of the City of Brookhaven is one of the top priorities and obligations of your elected City officials.

Your City officials will do everything in their power to keep rates as low as possible. Water and sewer must be fee based and self supporting by state law. Over 60% of city residents pay the minimum bill (3000 gallons or less per month). Brookhaven’s water and sewer monthly rates are less than surrounding communities of equal size. The minimum City water bill is $11.45. A 5 gallon container of bottled water costs over $6.00; 5 gallons of City water costs 2 cents.

The greatest recession since the 1930’s has caused the City to be especially aware of our fiscal responsibilities to the citizens of Brookhaven. Timing is now right to fund the project due to interest rates being at historic lows.

Your elected City officials are diligently working and planning to provide top quality, safe and dependable water and sewer services to all residents in the annexed areas of the City of Brookhaven. If you have any questions, or wish to further discuss the City’s plans for this next phase of services expansion, please feel free to contact your Alderman or the Mayor’s office.

Mayor Joe Cox

Mayor Joe Cox believes it is an honor and privilege to serve as Brookhaven’s 30th mayor and is confident that we live in the best city in the state of Mississippi!  He looks forward to working with all residents and officials for the betterment of Brookhaven and is certain that together we can accomplish great things within our community.

Mayor Cox has a love for his hometown of Brookhaven and is committed to serve and meet the needs of all residents.  His vision for the future ensures unity with forward progress, as well as increased opportunities for our children and city.  He is dedicated to making a positive difference while keeping with the traditional family values of our Homeseeker’s Paradise.

He is a graduate of Brookhaven High School and the University of Mississippi, owner of Joe Cox Insurance Services, and has a history of community and civic involvement.  He and his wife, Angie, have been married 33 years and are members of Faith Presbyterian Church.  They have been blessed with two wonderful children, a son, Wade, and wife Katie, and their daughter Claire, and husband Jonathan Strong.

Mayor Cox looks forward to leading Brookhaven in a clear direction that supports efficiency, accountability, fiscal responsibility, economic development, job growth, a safe environment and academic excellence in education.  He will be proactive in addressing concerns of all residents and businesses, and bringing viable solutions to the place we call home.

 

One city, with common goals, sharing a vision for the future.

Online Payment of Water Bills.

 

 

Quick link to online water bill paymenthttps://brookhaven.ms-ezpay.com/