By KELLY DANIELS
Tuesday’s heavy rainfall pushed Susan Shappley to her breaking point.
“I’m fed up,” Shappley told the Starkville Board of Aldermen on Tuesday.
Up to five inches of water filled Shappley’s house on Maple Drive on Tuesday, the latest in a long line of incidents in which her house has been flooded due to poor drainage infrastructure in her area of Green Oaks subdivision.
“I was stupid when I bought that house,” she said.
Shappley and her neighbors have dealt with poor drainage in the area for more than 20 years.
On Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen Tuesday unanimously decided to finally address the problem with an estimated $25,000 repair. The City of Starkville’s capital improvement drainage program will fund the project.
Construction of the Starkville Crossing Shopping Center on Highway 12 West agitated an area already in poor drainage conditions, Shapely said.
“I’m not an engineer,” she added, “but water is not supposed to run up hill.”
Shappley has become the face of disgruntled property owners at Green Oaks since she began calling attention to the floods.
Her first encounter occurred when Stark Road was not allowed a proper drainage system.
Her neighbors’ homes flooded with water up to four feet. She’s lost carpet, furniture and peace of mind during a time when most people open their windows to hear rainfall.
Shappley, who’s also been treated for cancer in the past year, said she could sell the house for fair market value but didn’t see the logic in a tremendous loss on the house
when its disrepair was not initially her fault.
She also didn’t want to take the city to court.
“I shouldn’t have to sue the city to solve a problem that’s the city’s problem,” she said.
But, since “stress is the best food cancer has,” she’s not worrying.
“I just want to fix the problem,” she said.
City officials are trying gradually to address drainage problems plaguing streets and parking lots for decades.
Ward 6 Alderman Roy Á. Perkins delivered a plea of his own Tuesday night for resolution of a long-standing problem in his ward.
“I’m going to show leadership in my chair tonight,” he said, again calling attention again to residents of Carver Drive who’ve suffered from foul smells and rampant mosquitos from a deep ditch along their backyard.
The board is addressing 40 feet of the problem area along Carver Drive each year.
“This is all about the welfare, health and safety of the people,” Perkins said.
In other business, the board also met its long-term goal of hiring a new information technology manager, Joel Clements, though, without explaining why, Perkins disagreed that Clements was the “best candidate.”
He asked city staff to ensure that all applicants for city positions were considered. Thirty-eight people applied for the position, and other officials argued that not all of them could be interviewed by the entire board, which welcome Clements with a 5-2 vote. Perkins and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn opposed Clements’ hiring.
The board’s strategic plan also includes expanding the the Building Department’s staff with an assistant.
The board approved a number of other items Tuesday, which include the following:
• A report from Municipal Court Judge Rodney Faver.
• An update from Administrative Hearing Officer Jenny Turner and from Hearing Enforcement Administrator Bill Green.
• The strategic plan as revised at the board retreat that took place on the weekend of January 14-15.
• Setting a time for interviewing Starkville School District Board candidates for Feb. 15, 2011 at 4:30 p.m.
• Advertising for a request for qualifications (RFQ) for facilities’ energy performance based on contracting services.
• Authorizing an additional block of 40 hours with Synergetics for its services during departmental transition.
• Authorizing the city’s historic preservation commission to apply for “Certified Local Government” status. The application also includes a letter of support from the mayor.
• Appointing Jason Barrett to the Historic Preservation Commission for the vacant term ending July 1, 2010.
• A parking garage use agreement with the Cotton Mill Conference Center & Hotel LLC.
• Allowing a multi-family residential use in a C-2 General Business for the Creamery at Central Station at 200 South Montgomery Street.
• All claims as of Jan. 28, 2011.
• Recommendations of candidates for promotion in the Starkville Fire Department.
• An educational assistance request for City Engineer Edward Kemp.
• Advertising for two vacant laborer positions in the Sanitation and Environmental Services Department.
• Hiring Curt Vickers as a firefighter to fill a vacant position.
• A revision to the 2011 water and sewer tap fees based on source of supply material bids.
• Issuing a notice to proceed to Gulf Coast Underground, the lowest source of supply bidder, to install linings in deteriorated manholes in the Rolling Hills Subdivision and on Banyan Road.
• Re-advertising for certain source of supply bids where bid responses did not comply with specifications, where non-competitively priced or no bids were received.
• Advertising for the sale of scrap metal and water meters.
Minutes from the meetings on Dec. 21, 2010; Jan. 4, 2011 and Jan. 18, 2011 were also approved and will soon be available on the city’s website at http://cityofstarkville.org .