Annexed areas to receive services

Residents of the city’s outmost areas who’ve payed taxes to Starkville for more than 10 years will finally get a return, officials say.
Many citizens whose property was annexed into the city in 1998 remain exiled from its connective grid for sewer and fire hydrant services.
But the city’s Public Services Department presented a doable plan to the Starkville Board of Aldermen Wednesday for fire hydrants in northeast Starkville.
“We felt that life safety was at all due importance,” Devlin said of the estimated $635,000 project already accounted for in the newly adopted 2011 budget.
“Sewer extension is somewhat of a different story.”
In order to connect everyone, the department faces the challenges of high costs for both the mostly low-income residents, who would have to pay a $200 tap fee and bear expenses for the service line and septic tank closure, and the city, which would have to come up with $3.8 million.
Devlin suggested 13 phased projects for each area, some of which would be costly due to typographic obstacles.
While the area around Bluefield Road, Greta Lane and the Highway 25 Bypass would cost the most, $1.5 million, it would also connect 33 people, while connecting Old Highway 25 near Deerfield would cost only $148,000 and still connect 23 people. The board will prioritize the schedule.
“We cannot do some of these projects without federal help,” he said, proposing that the city seek grants or a take out a cap loan payable within 20 years at a 4-percent interest rate.
Borrowing money would require a $1.85 increase in residents’ monthly sewer bill next year.
Officials also face in the coming years the decision whether to mandate higher income residents whose septic tanks work just fine to connect to the city line — an action that could carry political ramifications, Devlin explained.
Fire lines, however, can be completed at the end of next year. Devlins predicts a collection of all easements by the end of this year.
In other business Wednesday, the board also approved the following:
• The Starkville School District budget and tax levy at 62.24 mills for the 2011 fiscal year.
• Authorization of the comprehensive planning committee to spend $1,650 for a workshop given by Placemakers.
• The Bulldog Bash special event and request for donation of in-kind services.
• Spending $875 for an additional gameday shuttle bus.
• The agreement for a health plan with Southern Administrators.
• A contract with Southeastern Data Corporation (SEDC) for the administration of the billing for the Starkville electric department.
• Hiring Demario Cistrunk and William Tab to fill vacant positions for firefighter in the fire department.
• A contract with the SSD to provide uniformed police officers at home football and basketball games.
• A contract with the Starkville Housing Authority for the assignment of a full time uniformed officer.
• Purchasing sewer pipe for the Sudduth Road sewer project from consolidated pipe, costing $8,453.20.
• A notice to proceed for Stidham Construction to install the Sudduth Road sewer line, costing $24,677.50.
• A change order of $5,580 with the Glenn Machine Works construction contract.