Municipal Complex talks renewed

A bond referendum is a likely possibility as city officials restart talk and set a course of action on Starkville’s nearly 10-year-old consideration of a Municipal Complex.
A city panel involved in the discussion comprised of Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas, Ward 6 Alderman Roy A’. Perkins, Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill and Mayor Parker Wiseman met Thursday to formulate a plan for moving forward.
Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey was unable to attend the meeting.
Gary Shafer is the long-time architect of record on the project and city officials will ask City Attorney Chris Latimer to talk over with Shafer’s attorney an amendment to his contract which allow him to conduct a feasibility study.
The panel agreed to come up with two names each for a citizen committee to help guide the discussion. Wiseman says he has some ideas about who could chair the citizens panel. City officials discussed the idea of developing a group with no more than nine members.
“I want the committee to be a citizen-driven process,” Wiseman said. “You want a committee that is large enough to touch all aspects of the community broadly, but you don’t want a committee that’s so large that it becomes difficult to run a meeting and get through the feasibility study.
The only name any of the city officials gathered Thursday mentioned as a possibility for membership on the group was retired City Engineer Bill Webb.
“He’s familiar with the ins and outs on it. Bill will be a great asset to this if he would choose to serve,” Perkins said of one of the people he’s considering for naming to the panel.
Wiseman also indicated he would like to be on the panel. Perkins said the process should move quickly.
“The matter of the Municipal or Justice Complex is a matter that needs to become a reality as expeditiously as possible,” Perkins said.
“Preferably I would like to see the matter going before the qualified electors of this city prior to the end of the year,” which Perkins acknowledged “may not be realistic.”
“Hopefully we can get this matter to a vote by April 2011,” Perkins said.
“I would personally like to see, if approved by the voters, finalized during this term,” Perkins added.
It’s a “strong likelihood” a bond issue referendum will be how the project ultimately concludes, Wiseman said after the meeting Thursday afternoon.
City officials plan to present a report related to committee at this Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting with a goal of having a list of potential appointees in hand.
Wiseman spoke of a potential goal of the citizen committee and feasibility study consultant “on tap” at the Aug. 17 meeting of the full Board of Aldermen.