By NATHAN GREGORY
The Starkville Board of Aldermen will hold a third public hearing Tuesday on amending the city’s code to allow for transient vendors to set up on public property and sell goods provided they meet city specifications. Current code only allows vendors to set up on private property.
Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas said there has only been one alteration of note to the proposed ordinance since the board held its second public hearing on the matter at its previous meeting.
“There was a question last board meeting about door-to-door solicitation. What we’ve done is take that out so it’s not allowable,” Dumas said. “We’ve made the justification of where these transient vendors locate based on density and land use. That’s a way to make sure they’re in locations that are not a nuisance and are of a similar land use to what they’re doing.”
Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver said having the vendors would be a boost to local economy, particularly on weekends when Mississippi State University sporting events and festivals take place in Starkville.
“I think it will actually promote business because Starkville being a college town means there are opportunities for these people to do well,” Carver said. “I think it’s the nature of growth in the town as far as being more pedestrian-friendly. As long as they’re within the boundaries specified, I think it’s a good idea. We’ll see how this does. I’m sure we’ll have to come back and adjust and tweak things as needed.”
The board will also hear from Healthy Hometown Committee grants committee Chair Ron Cossman regarding the group’s recommendations of four grants to community organizations to help promote health and well-being.
Mayor Parker Wiseman said the city received a $50,000 grant as a result of earning the Blue Cross & Blue Shield Healthy Hometown Award last year.
“The board has previously approved a budget for the expenditure of the grant. Approximately $20,000 has been budgeted for grants to community organizations’ health promotion efforts, and the Healthy Starkville committee has an evaluation committee that has worked over the past several months to evaluate 27 grant proposals,” Wiseman said. “They will be coming forward with a request for authorization of grant funds to four of those organizations.”
Dumas is one of the members of subcommittee involved in managing the grant funds.
“(This) subcommittee of (The Healthy Hometown) committee is looking into how to divvy up the monies,” Dumas said. “There were some (organizations) that met the criteria immediately. There were some where we encouraged them to modify and resubmit. This is a general presentation of where we are with that and where we’re going.”
The board will also consider approving a special event permit for the Cotton District Arts Festival scheduled for April 21. The city would provide in-kind services for the event. Estimated costs for the city providing services such as policemen and sanitation workers are approximately $6,000.
Carver said the festival would provide a measuring stick for how well transient vendors would do in the city if the ordinance is approved.
“We realize our in-kind services are a small part we can play in a great festival,” Carver said. “If someone wants to know the nature of transient vendor businesses, a good opportunity to see that would be at the Cotton District Arts Festival.”
Dumas said he looks forward to working with CDAF organizers as the board has done in previous years.
“This is one of the great events we have all year in the city,” Dumas said. “(Consideration of approval is) standard protocol for any type of event so we’re able to have all the information we need to help make this great event a reality.”
A request for considering a contract with the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors for the use of eight beds in Oktibbeha County Jail is currently on the consent agenda. The city currently houses 16 inmates in Clay County Jail. Approval of the contract would move eight inmates to Oktibbeha County.
Finally, the board will set out formal terms in its contractual arrangement with Arnett Muldrow & Associates regarding the creation of a redevelopment authority and with Golden Triangle Planning and Development District for its development of a redistricting process.