By STEVEN NALLEY
The board of aldermen resolved Tuesday to support an amended version of a state legislative redistricting plan still under debate in Jackson that would divide Starkville into three districts instead of four.
Mayor Parker Wiseman said the board had issued a resolution in March opposing the four-district plan before the House amended it on April 6. With the help of state Rep. Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, Wiseman said, the city’s March resolution made a difference in the state legislature’s debate.
“Representative Ellis strongly advocated the changes that were incorporated into the House-amended plan,” Wiseman said. “It is nice to see that the legislature took that resolution to heart and made some changes to their redistricting map that improved the overall representation of the city of Starkville.”
The amended redistricting plan, Senate Resolution No. 692, is currently in the hands of a three-judge-panel, which said April 29 that they might put the decision back in the legislature’s hands. If that happens, Wiseman said, it’s important for representatives and senators to know where Starkville stands.
In particular, Wiseman said, changes to District 24 will help Starkville voters. The amendment enlarges District 24 to have the majority of its voters living in Starkville and Oktibbeha County, he said.
“That means that this community is a substantial force in that district,” Wiseman said. It is certainly not a perfect plan for the city of Starkville; if I could draw a perfect district, I would draw a district right around the city limits.
The citizens’ municipal complex committee also presented their final recommendations to the board at Tuesday’s meeting, suggesting a new facility for city police at the northwest corner of Jackson Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, renovation of the current City Hall, and an annex to City Hall with offices for the Mayor and City Clerk. Wiseman said the next steps depend on the board’s own municipal facilities committee, which will meet as soon as possible. The board committee includes Wiseman and Aldermen Richard Corey, Jeremiah Dumas and Roy Perkins.
“We’ll be able to report back to the full board maybe as early as the May 19 meeting, but possibly as late as the first meeting of June,” Wiseman said. The board also:
u Declared the drainage issues impacting west Main Street and surrounding areas a public health and safety concern, allowing the city to enter private property as necessary to alleviate erosion and flooding.
u Appointed Dennis Nordin to the board of adjustments and appeals and John Cartwright to the tree advisory board.
u Approved a request from the mayor’s youth council for $1,340 to support their summer youth employment program and allow travel to the youth summit in Biloxi.
u Held an executive session, where the board chose not to pursue an appeal in the Ball v. Starkville case and chose to authorize the signing of the city’s contract with Diversified Lenders to purchase Incode Software from Tyler Technologies.
u Approved S&S Line Services’ contract and bid for tree trimming service in Starkville.