City gets signatures, moves closer to controlling five private roads
Several dozen people attended a community workshop at city hall on Tuesday to meet with local officials and sign paperwork that would turn control of five private roads over to the city of Starkville.
The roads are in various states of disrepair and in dire need of maintenance. Residents complained of standing water puddling in the road for days and conditions that made driving the roads difficult.
The roads in question are Fannie Dale Road, Hendrix Road, Jessie Road, Roundhouse Road and Treasure Lane.
Despite the properties being annexed into the city limits in 1998, the roads still remain private. What complicates the matter from the city's perspective is that state law prohibits municipalities from conducting work on private property.
Residents were given the opportunity to sign warranty deeds to turn the private properties over to the city, which has entered into an inter-local agreement with Oktibbeha County to split the cost of maintenance.
Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A’. Perkins told the SDN following the meeting that the city still lacked some signatures, but would put in the work to try to get the project moving. Three of the five roads lack two signatures each, he said. However, if the city can get all of the signatures for one road, then the deed can be presented to the Starkville Board of Aldermen for that specific right-of-way.
"We didn't get all the signatures, but we will get to the finish line," Perkins said.
While many residents came out in full support of the measure and signed deeds, city attorney Chris Latimer said some residents had not shown up. Majority support is a major step forward in the process, but Latimer said missing just one signature for a particular road could jeopardize the deal.
Springer Engineering has provided surveying on the properties and will work in tandem with the city if work moves forward on the roads.
Perkins represents residents of all five roads being considered and said he has viewed the poor conditions for himself.
“This will probably be the last train leaving the station, so we need to get on board,” Perkins told his constituents in attendance.
Charles Hendrix, a resident of Hendrix Road, said a he once witnessed a neighbor with a sick child call an ambulance, only for the the emergency vehicle to get stuck.
Hendrix hopes a favorable decision will be made to bring relief to the people on his road.
“I’m happy to see the situation get started because we’ve been fighting for this for a long time, and I’m glad to see the ball rolling,” he said.
Ann Ivy is the sister of a quadriplegic that lives on Roundhouse Road. She said her brother can only move in his power chair, which is not equipped to handle the poor conditions of the road.
“He has a hard time getting around in the condition the roads are in and once they are fixed, he can be more independent and go and visit and go up the road,” she said. “But right now, he has to sit on his lot and if he went out he would be stuck.”
Once all of the warranty deeds are signed, the Starkville Board of Aldermen will then make a decision at a meeting that has yet to be scheduled.
Perkins said maintenance on the roads will be determined based on available resources if the decision is made to move forward, but residents signing warranty deeds to turn the right-of-way property over to the city is a crucial first step.
“Without this process, we can’t do anything,” Perkins said. “This is a win-win situation.”