Sanitation rates set for increase

By: 
BRIANA RUCKER
Staff Writer

Starkville residents can expect to pay more for residential and commercial sanitation rates beginning April 1.

The Starkville Board of Alderman approved an increase in the monthly residential sanitation rate by $1.50 to $16.75 and the commercial sanitation rate by $5 monthly.

The last increase in commercial rates was in 2012, and residential rates haven’t increased since 2013.

The city of Starkville was given time to correct the current landfill back to complying standards.

“When you are permitted by the state to have a landfill you agree to maintain it in certain ways,” Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk said.

Tuesday night Mayor Lynn Spruill said the landfill project is fairly expensive.

A final scope and precise bid of costs are yet to be conducted, but the mayor estimates it to be in the $1.5 million range.

“It would just be a matter of collecting the rates that come in paying off that loan that we would be taking out to get the work done,” Spruill said.

The work should be done in an estimated 6-8 months but the loan is for engineering and construction costs, and periodic maintenance.

The increase is a way to get funding in order to move forward with the project.

“It is one of those things where no single board is responsible, it’s been going on for awhile and it’s just now time for us to take the bull by the horns and clean it up,” Spruill said.

The estimated payback period is 6-7 years.

“We don’t know the total amount that we are going to need to fund this project, so 6-7 years is a guess,” Sistrunk said. “If the work costs less it will take less time.”

Sistrunk stated Starkville’s residential rates are lower than Columbus with similar levels of service.

Rolling Hills resident Dorothy Isaac spoke out against the matter during citizen comments at the meeting.

“I just want y’all to know if you’re going to increase something go through these neighborhoods and see what you’re increasing,” Isaac said.

Sistrunk mentioned that the project is mandatory for the city.

“We were trying to be as responsible as possible by identifying these on the invoices and making it possible in the future to remove that fee when the project is fully paid for,” she said.

Including it in the invoices avoided a permanent increase in sanitation rates.

Upon completion, future board members will determine continuance of the fee, allocating it to another matter, or remove it completely from customer’s bills.

Once a city is finished utilizing the landfill, it has to be closed to meet environmental regulations such as sealing the area to eliminate as much environmental pollution as possible.

The city’s next step will be deciding what to do with the land should they decide to discontinue operating it as a landfill.

New Developments

A new development was unanimously approved to allow two detached single-family dwellings on two proposed lots at 104 Azalea Lane constructed by Habitat for Humanity.

There was unanimous approval for subdivision of a 0.99 acre parcel into three lots also at 104 Azalea Lane as a Habitat for Humanity property.

A public hearing was held in consideration for Tep Starkville, LLC. to allow residential units to be placed in a C-2 zone to create a mixed dwelling at the southeast center of the intersection of highway 12 east and Pat Station Road directly east of the La Quinta Inn.

The request was to construct residential units on the upper floors of the commercial space.

The board unanimously approved this development.

Annexation

As previously reported by Starkville Daily News, the mayor and Starkville Board of Aldermen voted 5-2 for an annexation draft for east Starkville.

Spruill stated the 2019 annexation will effect the corridor of highway 182 and the 82 corridor to make room for a business increase.

Bill Chapman, owner of four properties in Starkville, said he lives in University Estates and received an email from the University Estates Homeowners Association saying those who had feelings about the annexation should voice their reasoning at the meeting.

While it would be great to be on a city sewer system for Chapman, residents in the area enjoy shooting their guns.

“I might lose that freedom and the discharge of firearm on my own property,” he said.

He also disagrees with losing his ability to work on his own sewer system.

“I don’t mind being added to the city but I do want the city to know that we expect some stuff - we expect some protection, we expect some infrastructure,” he said.

The last annexation took place in 1998.

City officials believe the annexation will benefit the growing city.

City Attorney Chris Latimer spoke on a revision of hunting guidelines in the city limits.

According to a Mississippi statute, residents in annexed territory with an accumulation of 10 acres or more, are allowed to discharge certain weapons if they are more than 150 feet from a resident or occupied building.

“The city ordinance is in section 82-6 and what it says is that the discharge of any firearm is unlawful inside the city limits,” Latimer said. The mayor and board plan to fix the inconsistency of the state statute and the city ordinance.

A public hearing will be held on the topic.

Surveillance Cameras

The city of Starkville is set to begin phase one of a lease agreement with Active Solutions, LLC. for a municipal camera project.

The project will place 10 surveillance cameras in entertainment areas of the city and exterior parts.

Their goal is to provide better safety in areas of the city.

The footage will be closely monitored by the Starkville Police Department and the Information Technology Department.

The ultimate goal is to have 40 cameras placed around Starkville.

To see locations of the phase one cameras visit cityofstarkville.org.

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