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At its winter retreat Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, the Starkville Board of Aldermen will discuss new plans for developing the cityâ€™s municipal facilities, review its six-fold strategic plan and discuss ideas of its capital improvement plan.
The board will meet Friday from 1-5 p.m. at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership to assess and amend the two-year-old strategic plan and discuss capital improvement plans Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon. All aldermen are confirmed to attend the retreat with the exception of Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins.
The strategic plan is broken down into six specific categories: city services, comprehensive planning and land use, image, infrastructure, municipal complex and regional cooperation.
Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas said Friday will be devoted to visiting where each item on the strategic plan stands and determining what modifications should be made.
â€ś(Today) we will only be focusing on goals and objectives weâ€™ve had over the past two years, and we will go over those with Phil Hardwick (coordinator of capacity development for the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development for Mississippi State University),â€ť Dumas said. â€śWe will be spending all of Saturday discussing capital improvements with Demery Grubbs (of Government Consultants, Inc.â€ť
Dumas said Saturdayâ€™s discussions will be important in prioritizing potential city projects the board has developed over several months.
â€ś(This) will be the biggest issue we discuss,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s a list weâ€™ve been working on for several months. Everybody has a list of projects and weâ€™ll discuss (which ones will be most important).â€ť
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said development plans for new municipal facilities are among the most unique items on the strategic plan.
â€śEvery item established has now been completed, but with the (September) bond issue not passing, it creates a moment for a restart on that discussion,â€ť Wiseman said. â€śThe board has made some progress in beginning the process again by requests for partnership proposals seeking interest in potential public-private partnerships to build municipal facilities. The overarching discussion will be geared toward establishing objectives for successfully meeting facility needs.â€ť
Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey said developing a referendum which will achieve a majority vote depends on funding.
â€śThrough work on the citizensâ€™ committee, we have a good assessment of options in the city,â€ť Corey said. â€śThe real issue is the question of funding as well as discussing factors in public that led to lack of majority support for a referendum.â€ť
He said he believes the weekend meetings will be crucial in determining how to proceed with city projects.
â€śThere is a wide variety of opinion over what projects we should focus on first,â€ť Corey said. â€śOne of the things I like about doing a poll of aldermen is being able to identify critical needs for the community and take steps toward making progress on those issues.â€ť
He said he also hoped to discuss Wisemanâ€™s proposal in the Dec. 20 board of aldermen meeting to add a stormwater utility fee which would raise money to fund drainage necessary projects in the future.
Another issue which will likely be discussed is the city of Starkville website, which Corey said needs modifications for it to be more interactive with the community.
â€śMaintaining a good website has been important to me because it allows us another venue to provide information to the public,â€ť he said. â€śIt also allows public option of doing business with the city without necessarily having to go to City Hall.â€ť
Both Corey and Wiseman said the retreat provides a much-needed opportunity to get all board members on the same page and move forward with making Starkville a progressive city.
â€śIt is my hope that if we donâ€™t agree on every issue that we can find enough common ground to have some meaningful impact with these meetings,â€ť Corey said.