By STEVEN NALLEY
After three public hearings on the matter, the Starkville Board of Aldermen passed an amendment to a solid waste ordinance at its meeting Tuesday.
The board also heard several presentations, including a progress report from the Starkville Parks and Recreation department, an annual report from the Starkville Beautification Committee and a presentation on Surface Transportation Program grants. Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas also brought concerns about use of storage facilities as primary business locations to the board’s attention.
The board approved the solid waste amendment 4-2, with Ward 7 Alderman Henry N. Vaughn and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins voting against it. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver was absent from the meeting. Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker said several changes to the amendment address issues with it citizens and aldermen have brought up at past hearings.
“We have added a definition for stumps, logs, and tree trunks,” Parker said. “The city will not pick up any dead animals over 10 pounds, which hopefully takes care of some of the mice and other issues that people may have, and we continue to make sure we have the name of the department correct.”
Parker also said residents will be fined for leaving garbage out after sunset, not after the 7 a.m. deadline for garbage to be available for pickup. One citizen spoke against the revision, but two spoke in its favor, including a Ward 2 resident who had once criticized the amendment, Milo Burnham.
“Is it a perfect document? No, it is not,” Burnham said. “Does that mean I will ask you to revisit it at some future date? Probably, but at this point, I would just like to say thank you to the members of the board for the consideration which they have shown my concerns.”
The board also passed a measure proposed by Jeremiah Dumas authorizing City Planner Ben Griffith to research and develop requirements for accessory structures and report findings to the board. Dumas said it is not in the city’s best interests to allow people to buy temporary structures such as storage buildings, put them on commercial property and use them as primary centers of business.
When Perkins asked for more background on the issue, Dumas was more specific.
“Giggleswick went out recently and developed their business into a nice property on Highway 12,” Dumas said. “All the while, we as a city are allowing their neighbor immediately to the east to move into the parking lot where a ice structure was, put in a storage unit, build a deck and a ramp up to the thing and do so and it be a primary source of business. I think it’s laughable that we as a community allow that.”
The board also heard a presentation from City Engineer Edward Kemp on Surface Transportation Program grants outlining a selection of projects for which the city could request funding from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Kemp recommended the board approve applications for five traffic signal improvement projects and three sidewalk improvement projects, for a total of $1.21 million in federal funding and $300,000 in local obligations to match federal contributions and pay design fees.
The sidewalk projects would improve three segments of Highway 12: One from Avenue of Patriots to the Kroger shopping center, one from Louisville Street to Willow Road, and one from Jackson Street to an existing sidewalk near Walgreens. The board approved Kemp’s recommendations.
The board also heard an annual progress report from Dylan Karges, a member of the Starkville Beautification Committee. Karges said he was grateful to the board for continuing to match contributions up to $15,000 for projects that included way-finding signage, downtown streetscape, public art, landscaping and beautification.
“These all came to us as partnerships, not just blank checks, but with proactive partners that had goals in mind for the betterment of the whole community,” Karges said. “That’s how we see that we had some great success, that each one of these major contributors took on the lead role as designer or project manager for specific projects.”
Finally, the board heard a quarterly progress report from Dan Moreland, chair of the Starkville Parks and Recreation Commission. Moreland said there have been personnel and pay cuts for lifeguards at city pools, but the commission also completed a joint effort with Oktibbeha County to extend Azalea Road from Highway 25 to the Starkville Sportsplex.
“That’s going to give us a lot more parking, and it should alleviate some of the traffic coming out into Lynn Lane,” Moreland said. “If any of you were there at the Fourth of July thing, you know it was about an hour getting out of the park.”