City discusses roadway construction for industrial park

Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins discusses the “playbook” provided to the Board of Aldermen during their work session on Friday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
By: 
LOGAN KIRKLAND
Staff Writer

The Starkville Board of Aldermen discussed a request for variance relief from street width and street standards requirements for the proposed industrial park during their work session on Friday.

The meeting started with a presentation from Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins, who provided the board with their “playbook” which includes maps, cost estimates and agreements as well as timelines for the industrial park project.

After discussing the ins and outs of the playbook and billing schedule, engineer manager Saunders Ramsey for Neel-Schaffer joined Higgins in discussing how the city can look at better ways to handle the roadways of the industrial park.

After a recent Board of Adjustments and Appeals meeting, Higgins said they were recommended to curb and gutter the road. Higgins said a 24-foot road, which includes two 12-foot lanes, and a prepared shoulder to allow trucks to pull over, is a better option for the industrial park.

“The issue is we’ve got a budget,” Higgins said. “If we do additional things that would cost money, we’ve got to figure out how to do it.”

The board was presented with five different options for the board to view and discuss.

Higgins said since the board passed the milage increase, the city has acquired funds, which can help go toward paying for the needed adjustments.

“You’ve got money in the bank that can be spent on the industrial park,” Higgins said.

Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk said the LINK should use money from their contingency funds because it has about $700,000 available to cover the extra costs.

“(The city’s funds are) committed to debt service at this point,” Sistrunk said. “I think that you do have money in your budget for this.”

Higgins said they don’t want to take the funds out of contingencies because they don’t want to come back to the board at the end of the project and say there is not enough money.

“You can’t decide this in a vacuum because you’ve got a partner in this,” Higgins said.

Higgins said there would need to be a decision made among the three partners involved in the project and a decision cannot be made solely by the city.

Vice Mayor Roy A’. Perkins interjected the discussion by saying he was “disturbed” they were asking for money this early in the process.

“I was under the impression that once the board voted to pay $7 million we wouldn’t need to be having this discussion,” Perkins said. “It seems to me that when you brought the budget to us, you should have factored the budget in to include compliance with streets of city specifications.”

Perkins said if the board decides to make an exception for this instance, there would be residents coming to the board asking for them for their projects, when in the past, the board has denied requests just to stay consistent.

“What you’re doing now is asking the city of Starkville to give you an exception to our ordinances and here we are as a board trying to be consistent,” Perkins said. “That’s why I’m not going to vote on this exception.”

Higgins said these ideas were not just thought of recently. He said there was discussion of these roads “at length” in the early stages of the planning process with different officials.

On the current agenda, the board will hold a public hearing and vote on the request during its next regular meeting on Tuesday.

OTHER BUSINESS

• A presentation was made on the proposed phased pay plan for city employees.

• The board was presented with the costs for the remaining unpaved roads within the city limits. The city just recently acquired a few roads new Rock Hill Road.

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