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Vacant position, signage on city agenda

March 19, 2012

By NATHAN GREGORY

The Starkville Board of Aldermen will consider advertising to fill a temporary full-time position for a city building inspector at its 5:30 p.m. meeting today. The position would be considered eligible for benefits, and the salary ranges from $35,948.33 to $47,842.50.
Ward 3 Alderman Ben Parker said the current vacancy needs to be filled due to a rise in building permits and current building inspector Ken Honeycutt’s indefinite absence due to a serious health issue.
“We don’t know when Mr. Honeycutt can be back, and we’ve issued a record number of permits this year, so we know we’re going to be in need for someone to inspect buildings in the next few months,” he said. “It’s something we need to act on now.”
Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk said development in areas around town have driven that record number. Having someone who can deal with the potential rise in volume of inspections, she said, is important.
“We’re entering the construction season so this is a time of year where there would be an uptick in what we would expect to see and a need for more inspections,” she said.
The board will also hear from Jennifer Gregory, Greater Starkville Development Partnership vice-president and chief operating officer, on designs for proposed wayfinding signs that, if approved, would be installed using city in-kind services. The board will consider approval of installing the signs after Gregory’s presentation.
Mayor Parker Wiseman said the signage would be a way of attracting out-of-towners who are unfamiliar with the city and helping them find their way around town to key points.
“The proposed designs for the signs look very nice. They are intended to help people who pass through our city and navigate the city,” he said. “Hopefully that will encourage people to stop and participate in the local economy who might not otherwise.”
The board will also consider approval of a $35,000 grant for a summer youth program. Wiseman said the grant works through the Mississippi Department of Transportation and would provide the city with resources to hire youth from within the community for summer work if approved.
Sistrunk said approving the grant would benefit Starkville youth as well as the community in general.
“Anything that gives students an opportunity for real world job experience — in the short term allowing them to have employment and in the long term to have them see the benefits of what they’re doing and how it relates to a job — would be good,” she said.
Parker said he supports the proposed program.
“Citizens have been to several board meetings to see if the city can get more people involved. They said they had seen work programs in other communities and seeing if we could get one started here,” Parker said. “(It would provide) jobs for our youth for the summer ... and I think it would be a worthwhile project. Work ethic is very key.”
The meeting will be held in Starkville City Hall’s courtroom.

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