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By STEVEN NALLEY
Sturgis Mayor Walter Turner has confirmed plans for the Sturgis Board of Aldermen to discuss a motorcycle rally contract at its meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., a contract it previously rejected.
On March 6, the city board rejected a funding agreement with the Sturgis South Bike Rally Board to reinstate the cityâ€™s annual motorcycle rally in a 3-2 vote. The proposal would have paid the city $8,500 toward such city services as security, sanitation and trash pickup. $8,500 was the cityâ€™s final counteroffer when it rejected the rally boardâ€™s $7,500 contract proposal for the 2011 rally, leading to the rallyâ€™s cancellation.
In March, Turner said he was disappointed in the boardâ€™s decision.
â€śThe main reason I believed it would work was because it has worked for 13 years in the past,â€ť Turner said. â€śThe town is able to work with its budget and make adjustments even before the rally starts. For example, if we see thereâ€™s going to be a small crowd, we can cut back on the services ... trash services and security. We can adjust before we even spend the money, before the rally. Even if thereâ€™s some risk involved, which is minimal, the town needs to look at the greater good for the whole community and the surrounding area, including Starkville.â€ť
Turner declined to comment further on the nature of rally discussion planned for Tuesday.
In March, Donny Hanson, rally board president, said a contract with the city must be approved before the end of April for a 2012 rally to take place. On Monday, Hanson said the rally board intends to issue a press release after the Sturgis city board finishes discussion Tuesday.
â€śIt depends on what the rest of the aldermen decide,â€ť Hanson said. â€śAfter that (decision), weâ€™ll get a release together.â€ť
Hanson said he has no comment on the direction he expects Tuesdayâ€™s discussion to take, but he has spoken with some of the aldermen.
â€śIâ€™ve talked to a couple of (aldermen who) have voted for the contract,â€ť Hanson said. â€śI have not been able to talk to any (aldermen who) voted against it. They would not respond to my phone calls.â€ť
Some Starkville business owners have expressed interest in seeing the rally return. One of them is Arma Ruth De La Cruz, marketing manager for Eat With Us, which owns Bulldog Deli, Sweet Peppers Deli, Harveyâ€™s and Central Station Grill in Starkville and several restaurants throughout the Southeast.
â€śIt brought character to our community,â€ť De La Cruz said. â€śIt just makes our community more diverse, which makes us more attractive.â€ť
However, some Sturgis citizens and business owners have responded with support for or acceptance of the city boardâ€™s decision. Jackie Nason, owner of Main Street Grill in Sturgis, said her restaurant has historically benefitted from the rally, but it does not survive off the rally alone.
â€śIt doesnâ€™t matter one way or the other with us,â€ť Nason said. â€śWeâ€™re there for the community all year long. The restaurant doesnâ€™t survive off of one weekend. The people of the city of Sturgis elect aldermen. We have to hope theyâ€™ll make the best decision. We would love the extra revenue, but we just have to go by what they decide, and weâ€™ll live with it.â€ť