March 22, 2013 10:57:04 AM
Starkville Parks Commission Board leader Dan Moreland promised Thursday his organization will seek more local purchases after hearing a complaint from a local merchant over a broken agreement.
William Parker, a representative of Powerstroke Equipment Sales and Service, told commissioners he was upset after his business was left out of a deal for Exmark mowers after securing an agreement with former Starkville Parks and Recreations Director Matthew Rye.
That deal, he said, was struck in 2012. Rye resigned from his post in June.
The parks department would go on to complete a two-mower deal with a Lowndes County-based business.
Parker, a member of the Starkville Rotary Club and supporter of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, chastised the board for spending money outside the county. Powerstroke Equipment Sales and Service is located on Lynn Lane, the same road upon which the Starkville Sportsplex is located. The organization handles Starkville Parks and Recreation's equipment repairs, he said.
"Instead of spending that money, you could have spent the same amount and leased twice the amount of mowers and still been covered under warranty. It appears to me they ... packed up and went to Columbus," Parker said. "No one contacted us."
Correspondence between the two entities faded during the parks department's leadership vacuum. Herman Peters, a former basketball coach, succeeded Rye before the end of the year.
Board member Dorothy Isaac asked Parker if he made contact with Peters after the personnel change. Parker said he did not.
"Why do we have to wait for you when we have a new director?" Isaac asked. "You could have called the commissioner. I don't see what's the wine and dine with that."
"Matthew never said anything to me. It fell through the cracks. I'll assure you this, you'll have an opportunity with anything else we do," Moreland said. "I don't like to spend money period, but if I have to spend it, I want it to be here in Starkville."
In other business, the board unanimously supported a motion which will ask aldermen to rename the Gillespie Street Center after the historic Needmore District. Aldermen recently approved ceremoniously naming a portion of the area after the historic district.
Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker, the city's liaison to the Parks Commission Board, said any renaming efforts would have to be done by aldermen since the city owns the facility, not SPR.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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