Starkville Utilities brings sewer line to Roundhouse Road

Faith Lifer
Staff Writer

Starkville Utilities is set to bring sewer services to Roundhouse Road and the surrounding area, which comes after the area was annexed into Starkville’s city limits in 1998.

Starkville Utilities General Manager Terry Kemp Kemp said the planning process for the project has taken close to two years up to this point.

“Due to the location and the economics it’s taken a long time and a lot of effort to get to this point,” Kemp said. “But what this project does is it provides sewer connections to (Roundhouse Road) and that surrounding area inside the city limits.”

The project will affect approximately 15 residents who live in houses in the area.

“It’s a fairly small number of people,” Kemp said. “And they’re in an area where sewer has not been available.”

Kemp said the Roundhouse Road area was identified as an area that needed sewer services after septic tanks and other sewer-collection systems in the area started to fail.

Starkville Utilities is contracting with Perma Corporation in Columbus for the construction of the project, which will start on Nov. 12. The contract gives Perma Corporation 120 days to complete the project.

“Based on working with the contractor, we expect them to move fairly quickly,” Kemp said.

Starkville Utilities Assistant Manager Jacob Forrester said the project will consist of approximately 8,000 feet of sewer lines. The project will cost just under $550,000 and Kemp said a Community Development Block Grant made moving forward with plans possible.

“We were fortunate to receive a Community Development Block Grant associated with this, and generally speaking, it covered about half of the cost,” Kemp said.

Starkville Utilities will cover the other half of the project cost through cap loans they will be obligated to repay. Kemp also clarified funding for the project did not and will not come through tax increases to the city.

Although the sewer services will immediately impact 15 residents in Starkville, the project has the potential to impact more residents. Kemp said the sewer line will give access to “several big blocks of land” that have the potential for development.

“This is a fairly large area in some ways, but it’s low density, so there are not many customers (currently) involved,” Kemp said. “So we’ve got planning built into the project to anticipate growth.”

Long-term, Forrester estimates upwards of 500 more Starkville residents could benefit from the project based on the size of the sewer line.

Separate from the Roundhouse Road area, Kemp said there are still a few other areas from the 1998 annexation that don’t have access to sewer.

“There are a few pockets inside the city from the annexation that do not have sewer,” Kemp said. “We have analyzed them and we have a plan to provide services when either the financial piece comes or the need develops."

Kemp said he thinks plans for the other projects are not far behind the Roundhouse Road project.

“I think when we get this (sewer line) finished, the other projects are within short distances,” Kemp said. “I think the point is, we’ve got a plan and we’re ready to roll when the need and the opportunity presents itself.”

Kemp thinks Roundhouse Road is a good example.

“We knew what needed to be there, but we had to get the funding and everything in place to make it feasible,” Kemp said.

Forrester also clarified residents are not charged until the sewer service is provided.

“Those customers are neither taxed nor charged for sewer that’s not collected,” Forrester said. “It’s a city service, but until it’s in place— since we’re funded through service fees— nobody’s taxes are affected. Our user fees are not applied until they have that service.”

Kemp believes any infrastructure project is critical for Starkville now, and in the future.

“Infrastructure is critical for our existing customers,” Kemp said. “But if you look at the long-term, the growth potential is really going to be there, too, because good infrastructure is very important to sustain existing conditions but also to encourage growth as well.”

“I think this has been a long time coming and I’m thankful we had access to the necessary funds,” Kemp added. “Now we’ve got a good design, a plan and a good contractor and we’re eager to get started and finished.”

Roundhouse Road is located within Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A.’ Perkins’ ward.

“I am so greatly excited about the fact that the construction is about to begin to install and provide sewer services in the Roundhouse Road area,” Perkins said.

Perkins added that the services are overdue.

“This has been a very long journey. The residents are in dire and immediate need of these sewer services,” Perkins said. “The conditions have been deplorable in this area without sewer.”

Mayor Lynn Spruill said she is pleased the project has finally become a reality to Starkville.

“Providing as many city services as economically feasible to our residents is of critical importance,” Spruill said. “I wish that we had done this long ago, but we have been working in many areas of town on providing the same service over the past decades.”

“Our infrastructure is a priority for us and as such, I look forward it getting it successfully included,” Spruill added.