By NATHAN GREGORY
The Starkville Board of Aldermen unanimously approved to hire Taylor Adams as the city’s new director of finance at its meeting Tuesday night.
Adams’ first day on the job will be Aug. 1. His salary will be $73,500.
Adams is a purchasing manager in the Mississippi State University Office of Procurement and Contracts. He was named the state’s purchasing manager of the year by the Mississippi Association of Governmental Purchasing and Property Agents last month. He is a past president of that organization.
Alderman Sandra Sistrunk, who made the initial motion to hire Adams, said she was impressed with the pool of 10 candidates that was interviewed at the board’s July 10 session, but Adams stood out to her because of his understanding of the community and his financial background.
“Mr. Adams’ combination of education and experience, his familiarity with our community and his energy and enthusiasm for city government work make him uniquely qualified for this position, and I think he will be an asset for the city going forward,” Sistrunk said.
Adams said he is looking forward to starting his duties.
“There was a large pool — certainly of qualified candidates — so I’m very flattered to be selected and also genuinely excited about the opportunities this presents,” he said.
He said for the first several months of his job he expects to be familiarizing himself with all city department heads and getting their input.
“I think anyone in this position is going to do a lot of listening right out of the gate,” Adams said. “Ultimately, the finance function is a service provider for the other department heads and the greater community, so a lot of time initially will be spent getting to know those other department heads so we can be sure that we’re providing them the best possible service that we can.”
Earlier in the meeting, the aldermen voted 4-3 in favor of approving the minutes for its June 5 meeting — typically a routine board measure. More significant about this approval of minutes was that it made official the board’s controversial vote in favor of establishing a public-private partnership for construction of a new city hall and conversion of the current city hall into a renovated police station. The $8 million project, which does not require a tax increase, will be paid for on a 20-year lease the city will pay using funds generated by retired bond debt, funds budgeted by the city and projected growing tax revenue income. The city will own the new building once the lease is paid.
Ward 1 Aldermen Ben Carver, Ward 6 Roy A. Perkins and Ward 7 Henry Vaughn were the dissenting votes.
Before the board approved, Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker commented on the amount of input the board has received in recent meetings from citizens who disapproved of the board’s decision.
“I’ve taken this vote very seriously and I’ve looked at it from every angle that I thought I could … I have been comfortable from the beginning with the idea of a public-private partnership … The plan I have reviewed so far is not extravagant by any means, but it satisfies the needs for the employees of City Hall and it satisfies our police department. There’s no doubt that the public perception of this project was an epic failure from the start … I take responsibility for not making sure it was more publicized and that certain groups and citizens in town were not more educated about the process and the plans the city was undertaking,” Parker said. “I’ve taken a very conservative approach to our budget … I truly have always voted on this board table for what I thought was best for Ward 3 and the city of Starkville … and I really can’t remember a vote that I have done based on me getting re-elected.”
He referenced the two bond issues that have been held on construction of municipal facilities.
“Do I think the people (who) voted for the bond issue this last time voted for me in the last election? Probably not. Do I think the people (who) voted against the bond issue in this last election will support me and vote for me again if I support this? Probably not,” he said. “However, for the people who voted against it, the feedback and input I got was that they did not want increased taxes and they didn’t want an extravagant $14 million building. I can assure everybody that I have studied these numbers past, present (and) future and I do firmly believe that the numbers we’re using and the numbers we’ve presented, they’re not going to cripple the city. They’re conservative in nature.”
In other business, the board:
u Approved Mississippi State University Student Association President Shelby Balius’ request for approval of the Bulldog Bash special event and for city in-kind services;
u Approved authorizing Golden Triangle Planning and Development District to prepare and submit a HOME Investment Partnerships Program grant application.