Aldermen to hear update from lobbying firm

Austin Montgomery
City Reporter

As the state legislative session wraps up mid-April, Starkville aldermen will hear an update from Cornerstone Government LLC during next Tuesday's meeting on its efforts to secure state appropriations for the planned Starkville Police Department renovations.

On March 1, the board approved a motion seeking $2.4 million from state legislators to fill funding gaps in the extensive redesign plan of the department at 101 E. Lampkin St.

Construction could start as soon as July, officials said. Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman was confident in the level of service provided by the group.

"The conversations we've had have been good," Wiseman said. "I don't think there's anybody who didn't like the project. It just comes down to funding decisions that are made by the legislature."

State lawmakers officially close the current session on April 16.

In order to bring the building up to code and to preserve the building's historic landmark status, project costs would total around $5.4 million.

"We probably won't know if we got the funding at least for another week or two as the legislature is just beginning the process of rounding the major appropriation and bond bills into form," Wiseman said.

On February 16, project architect Gary Shafer presented two possible renovation options with budgets totaling $3 million and $4.5 million. Both plans set up the option to include a host of design components.

The revised $5.4 million budget would include youth court services, a new second floor for administrative staff, plumbing, electric and fire protection code updates along with a host of exterior work including paving and striping with protected parking and a new sally port.

At the same meeting, aldermen entered into a 7-month, $30,000 contract with the lobbying firm in a 4-3 vote.

The firm could also help secure needed funds to complete environmental reclamation costs for the Thad Cochran Research, Technology & Economic Development Park expansion plan.

Cornerstone secured over $1 million in appropriations for the city of Ridgeland in the past, according to Ward 3 Alderman David Little.

Aldermen will meet at 5:30 p.m., April 5, in Starkville's City Hall, 110 W. Main St.

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