Manila City Council members named a newly annexed street Browning Lane in honor of Manila Mayor Melvin Browning at the December 12 meeting.
Mayor Browning is completing his four-year term as mayor and said he felt very honored that the council did that.
Browning Lane is off Olympia, east of the Manila School. The street was annexed into the city limits in November.
Mayor Browning read a farewell letter saying that on Jan 1, 1999 he was privileged to become the last mayor of the city of Manila in the old century and the first in the new century.
"I was honored to be Mayor during the 100th anniversary of Manila in 2001. Also, I had the honor of being a board member of the boys and girls clubs of America and took a trip to New Mexico for the first annual conference of the clubs. Also, I helped form the Friends of Big Lake group and had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. in Feb. of 2002 for the first annual conference of Friends Group. It has been a privilege to work with the Great River Economic Development Committee and be a board member and secretary o that group. We are in the process of working to get a plan in the Federal Mogal Building. The company has not said no, so it is pending," he said.
Browning went on to praise the Department of corrections for the valuable work they have down in draining, cleaning up the ditches and fence rows, cemetery, park, school and many other thing to numerous to mention.
"I have been proud to be on the Board of D.O.C," he said.
He said he enjoyed working with the Buffalo Island Leadership Group that made history uniting five cities and two counties in a partnership that became ACE Accredited.
He praised the staff in the front office that worked closely with him throughout the four year.
"In my opinion, Manila now has the best qualified police department in our history. I know Chief Hill has done an excellent job. Not once in the past four years have we been even close to a lawsuit. All of the officers are always professional in their duties. The Department is to be commended," he said.
He said with the council, they passed the first ever city sales tax by a wide margin.
"We now have a wastewater system project that will start immediately. After that a water project will begin and the swimming pool will finally become a reality," he said.
Browning also praised Henry Ford, water superintendent, for an exceptional job in the water and wastewater facilities.
"Together, he, I, and the street, water and sanitation departments have gotten our water loss down from 25 percent o 9.9 percent to allow us to secure the loan from Soil and Water. Henry and his men are to be commended for the excellent condition the city is in today," he said.
He spoke of Manila's growth in the 2000 census from 2635 to 3055.
"That is an increase of 420 people or 15.95 percent. I think we were the only city in Mississippi County with that percentile of growth," he said. "With that growth, we saw new industry - D&S Manufacturing, Sonic, a new Post Office, Herman Davis Monument re-landscaped, Fred's and Delta moved to the By-Pass and increased their square footage and merchandise, a new business, Groomingdale's, opened and Main Street has been revitalized after having so many empty buildings. This is growth," he said.
Browning said he always tried to do what was in the best interest of Manila and the citizens.
"I never comprised my principles. I leave this office on Dec. 31 without any malice or hard feelings toward any employee, citizen, or city council member.....
"There has never been an honor bestowed upon me more privileged than to leave here saying I have been your mayor for the past four years. I thank you all and all the citizens of Manila for that.
"I wish the best to Mayor Veach and Councilman Booth as they start off the new year working with the council for the good of the city of Manila.
"At this wonderful time and holy season we are now celebrating, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and May God Bless you in everything you do," he concluded.
Browning reported that the tax revenue from the one-cent sales tax in October was $13,979.
"We predicted that the tax would bring in approximately $12,000 a month and for the first eight months, it has averaged $12,159," Browning said.
Browning reported that the paperwork had been finalized for the $1.2 million wastewater project and work should begin as soon as the weather permits.
The City Council passed the guidelines for the development of future subdivisions in Manila.
Councilman Gaylon Gammill submitted a copy of the guidelines to all council members at the November meeting for review.
Before any new development is started, developers must submit:
1. Plot plan.layout of the project, initial phase and long term.
2. A drainage plan indicating how the water is to exit the property and how it affects adjoining property. Culvert locations, sizes, ditch depths and elevations of property and adjoining property should be indicated.
3. A water and sewer layout provided by a licensed engineer and approved by the State Health Department.
Once the above steps are approved by the City of Manila, the remainder of the guidelines specifies what the developer is responsible for and what the city will provide.
In other business:
*The Council agreed to allow builder Junior Wise a five-foot variance on each side of the property on Duncan Street. Wise will remove a mobile home and build apartments on the property.
*The Council voted to have Stull Fencing repair and secure the fencing at the ball park at a cost of $3,750.
*Mayor Browning reported that the cost of health benefits increased $20 per person. Members of the fire committee, Councilmen Dean Cherry, Tony Hawkins and Terry Carr, will meet with the fire department members on Thursday to discuss the increase.