By STEVEN NALLEY
At its regular Tuesday meeting at City Hall, the Starkville Board of Aldermen will set a date for a work session to address both the redistricting of city wards and prioritization for capital improvement projects.
It will also plan for a public hearing at a later meeting to amend Starkvilleâ€™s subdivision regulation ordinance to allow developers to finish paving roads at the first phase of construction, making construction easier.
Federal regulations require the city to keep the population of its wards as balanced as possible, so cities look at which wards are under- or over-populated after each census.
Cities then redraw borders to rebalance the population, making every effort to keep current city officials within the wards they represent.
Lynn Spruill, chief operating officer for Starkville, gave a presentation July 5 on the wards which made it apparent more than a few officials lived near current ward borders, putting them at risk for losing office if the borders cannot be drawn to keep them in their current wards. At that meeting, Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins suggested the matter be tabled until fall.
â€śI think we need to pick up on this after the budget process because weâ€™re going to have to deal with some issues on the budget process, and with the municipal complex, weâ€™re going to have these town hall meetings,â€ť Perkins said. â€śI would suggest that we just wait until after September to pick back up on this because these other issues are going to consume the publicâ€™s attention and time, given the magnitude of those two matters.â€ť
Now, Spruill said, both matters have been addressed, and the board is ready to discuss any issues that may arise from redistricting.
The same work session will also return to an issue raised in a June 21 work session, she said. At that time, Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman gave all board members a list of possible capital improvement projects compiled by Government Consultants, Inc. representative Demery Grubbs and asked them to give a priority level to each project.
Spruill said projects could be rated A, B or C, with C having the lowest priority and A having the highest. The work session will bring the priority lists of all the board members together, she said.
â€śOnce that list gets compiled, it will give the board an idea of the priorities for capital improvements, given the constraints of funding,â€ť Spruill said.
The subdivision ordinance amendment up for a public hearing pertains to current limitations on road construction during subdivision construction, Spruill said. Currently, crews can only complete the bottom layer of asphalt at the first phase of construction, and they must wait until the houses are 80-85 percent complete before they can add the top layer. The amendment would allow crews to complete the road all at once, Spruill said, while still allowing them the option to build it in two phases if desired.
â€śThe attempt is to try to make the development of subdivisions more friendly for the city and the developer,â€ť Spruill said. â€śIt allows for a stronger road surface to travel on when it is most needed, when you have heavy construction trucks. Youâ€™ve got a better base that can carry those kinds of loads.â€ť
The board will also:
u Hear a request from State Theatre for a resolution to support their application to the ABC division of the state tax commission for an extension of operating hours under resort status.
u Consider approving a budget for 2-percent funds for the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority after hearing a presentation from OCEDA President Jack Wallace on this budget.
u Hear a request from Morgan McDowell of the MSU Student Association for a fee waiver for homecoming banner signs.
u Discuss a budget proposal for the $50,000 grant Starkville earned when Blue Cross Blue Shield named it Starkvilleâ€™s Healthiest Hometown.
u Hear a presentation by Jason Wooten of Pepper-Wooten Engineers and Surveyors on results of drainage studies for Maple Drive and Carver Drive.
u Hear a report from City Clerk Markeeta Outlaw on the progress and timeline for a recent transition to new software.
u Hear from Spruill on concerns about parking on Westside Drive.