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Aldermen to consider hiring parking official

January 15, 2013

The Starkville Board of Aldermen will consider hiring a part-time parking enforcement officer during its 5:30 p.m. recess meeting tonight at City Hall.

Approval of the position would require appropriation of additional funds to supplement Starkville Police Department’s budget. Funding for the temporary position would not exceed $11,000 for the 2013 fiscal year.

Starkville Police Chief David Lindley said he is making a request to the board based on multiple requests from Main Street merchants.

“There have been strong requests from the (Starkville Main Street Association) and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership that we re-implement two-hour parking enforcement in the downtown business area. Over the course of the last several months, we have researched this issue and have presented two different analyses to the board,” he said.
“We’re going to present the possibilities to the board and see if we can get a direction from them as to what they want us to do.”

Of those two studies, one was conducted by SPD and the other by Mississippi State University graduate student Emily Gillylen, who led several local groups to conduct a parking feasibility study. Based on the studies, Lindley said, marking tires is a solution to parking issues the city has done before and can be effective again.

“This model is in use in Columbus and would work here,” he stated in a letter to Mayor Parker Wiseman in November. “This individual would be a complete ‘one-person unit’ responsible for all matters from issuing the tickets and keeping up with payment or nonpayment. They would also handle follow-up letters for delinquent fines and wheel lock cars as necessary.”

Also on the agenda is consideration for a public hearing for adoption of a commercial outside storage maintenance ordinance. A public hearing on the matter was held in July and no board action has been taken since then.
The proposed ordinance has been altered since it was initially presented. Along with doing away with continual outdoor displays containing indoor items such as mattresses and clothes, residents would also not be allowed to hold more than six yard sales per year and be required to notify the city two days before holding a yard sale so it could be advertised on the city’s website. The latter two specifications have been stricken from the ordinance.

Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas, who spearheaded drafting the ordinance, said he has removed yard sale regulations from the item as a result of negative feedback but still believes the city needs to correct areas of blight for aesthetic and health reasons.

“The problem was properties in town thinking it’s OK to put couches and recliners in public view and keeping them there through repeated weather events,” Dumas said. “I’m not giving up on this ordinance because there’s got to be a way to find a solution to make these places look better … and there is an equal issue of public health.

“Back last summer, I had been contacted by people in Ward 5 that were concerned about those around them who had these long-standing yard sales,” he added. “We tried packaging (the yard sale regulations and other specifications) together as one ordinance and there was considerable pushback. I think the issue of blight and unsightliness of interior furniture being stored outside of businesses is the bigger problem. This is not saying you can’t have displays of things that are for outside use being displayed outside … This is focused completely on interior furnishings.”

Additionally, the board will consider approving the installation of a speed table on Greensboro Street between Whitfield Street and Reed Road. The project would cost approximately $3,500.

OCH Regional Medical Center administrator Richard Hilton will speak to the board about its decision to pull the remainder of its ambulance service funding for the fiscal year and re-allocate it to the city’s contingency fund. The city has already made the first quarterly payment — $10,000 — of the $40,000 budgeted to the service but decided on Jan. 2 to suspend further payment. Hilton said he wants the board to reconsider its decision because it would necessitate increased billing for patients, and the service already runs at a six-figure loss each year.

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