By NATHAN GREGORY
Local businessman David Little has qualified to run as a Republican for Ward 3’s alderman seat in this year’s municipal election.
Little, who currently manages the local district claims office of Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, is a seven-year resident of Ward 3. He has been employed by Farm Bureau for more than 24 years.
Current Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker, also a Republican, said he will announce next week whether he intends to run for a second term.
Little said if he is elected, a priority of his will be making Starkville an easier place for young families to move to.
“(My family and I) built a new home in 2006 and (property taxes) gone up basically every year. It seems like each year incrementally there have been consistent tax increases. I manage 12 folks that work out of this office. Out of those 12, I have two that reside in Oktibbeha County and one who lives in the city,” Little said. “Several others who live in the surrounding areas have personally told me that they could not afford to live here. There are others in the community that I’ve talked to and they’ve got the same concerns. I think affordable housing — when folks are looking at relocating to an area — that’s one of the things they look at in addition to quality of life (and) schools.”
Little said the board’s recent decision to participate in an economic coalition with Lowndes and Clay Counties known as the Golden Triangle Regional Development Authority is a positive step toward promoting economic growth in Starkville.
“I think that’s a positive thing for the entire area … and for everybody involved. We’ve got to work in conjunction with (GTRDA). We just need to be more business friendly with those who want to come here. If we’re business friendly through our zoning ordinance (the city will receive more business interest),” he said. “Of course we’ve got to have guidelines, but sometimes there are exceptions to every rule to be considered. We don’t want to get the name out there that Starkville is a difficult place to locate a business.”
Steering more retail businesses into Starkville has been a long-time economic need in order for the city to compete with area peers, Little said.
“We’ve got a lot of money here in town that could be spent here, but people are driving out of town. They’re driving down to Dogwood and Flowood. They’re driving to Tupelo, Birmingham, Memphis and Collierville to do their shopping,” he said. “We have some good stores here, but there are not a whole lot of options and that’s a lot of tax money that is leaving town and leaving the county.”
Little said he would also focus on drainage and infrastructure improvements if elected.
“I think we need to find grants and resources that may be out there and available for the town,” he said. “We also need to rely on engineers to tell us about potential problem areas.”
Strengthening the city’s relationship with Oktibbeha County government is also a priority of his, he said.
“I will work to improve working relationships between the city and Oktibbeha County governments,” he said. “It is important for both city and county officials to work positively along with (Mississippi State University) officials in moving our city forward. I can assure the residents of Ward 3 that, if elected, I have the commitment and work ethic to make the city of Starkville a better place to live and do business.”
In general, Little said he wants to work for the benefit of Ward 3 and the city as a whole.
“I talked with several folks about the possibility. They were very encouraging of it and I decided to take the plunge. There are a lot of qualified people in town that could run that for whatever reason choose to stay on the sidelines. I don’t want to be one of those people,” he said. “I want to be able to give back to the community through my time and effort.”
Little is married to Pattie Lowery Little. They have three children: Layton, Patton and Lake.