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Board to consider use of consultant

April 18, 2011

By PAUL SIMS
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

Starkville city officials will consider tonight whether to use a consultant to guide the process of developing a capital improvement plan.
Mayor Parker Wiseman will ask the board to accept the request for qualifications from Government Consultants Inc. and proceed with developing the document.
In a qualifications letter, the Jackson-based firm cites 24 years in business and specific experience in developing three- and five-year capital improvement plans. Firm representative Demery Grubbs cites more than 40 years of work in municipal government, ranging from a financial advisor and department head to alderman and mayor.
The firm proposes to conduct the work for $1,500, primarily to cover expenses such as travel and a few printing costs.
“It’s a way of making wise purchasing decisions, looking at the budgetary outlook for a number of years, rather than making decisions that are going to have financial consequences for a number of years while only looking at one year of the budgetary picture,” Mayor Parker Wiseman said Monday. “The process of capital improvement planning and budgeting takes stock of not just your annual financial outlook but your long-term financial outlook which is necessary to properly plan for and budget meeting long-term financing needs.”
The board will also consider:
u Acting on a contract with Placemakers LLC to not exceed $80,960 to develop a master plan and form-based code for certain segments of Starkville’s downtown.
Form-based codes will give developers specific guidelines laid out under the codes. Advocates have said the procedure will streamline the administrative process for development and act as an overlay on top of existing codes in the designated areas. The goal is higher-quality projects.
u Approving the preliminary plat for the four-unit High Cotton development on a 0.26-acre lot on Russell Street. On April 12, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission decided to recommend approval of the plat. Last month, the city’s Board of Adjustment and Appeals granted a density variance for the project, which exceeded the city’s unit-per-acre standard of 15 by 0.38.
The Starkville Board of Aldermen will meet today at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.
In a separate matter unrelated to tonight’s meeting, the city’s Municipal Building Committee met Monday and voted to proceed with a final recommendation.
The core of it will be to renovate the old City Hall “which is rock solid,” chair Roy Ruby said, to accommodate City Hall and Municipal Court and move the Police Department to a location on Highway 182 and Jackson Street.
The panel is charged with making recommendations on facilities to be built or renovate, their locations and to accommodate the Police Department, City Hall and Municipal Court, Ruby said.
On March 31, the team of professionals reviewing certain aspects of downtown under a comprehensive review known as a charrette recommended the placement of the police facility on the property at Highway 182 and Jackson Street and giving City Hall a facelift.
The Municipal Building Committee has met every couple of weeks since Sept. 7.
“We’ve sought all the citizen input we could get because in order for this thing to go it has to have wide citizen support,” Ruby said. “All we’re doing is recommending.”
Detailed estimates are not yet available, he said.
The formal final report will be delivered to aldermen May 3.

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