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Starkville public works, IT expenditures remain under budget

 

Public works director Doug Devlin

Public works director Doug Devlin

 

IT director Joel Clements

IT director Joel Clements

 

 

Carl Smith

 

Starkville's public works and information technology departments' fiscal year expenditures are expected to be under budget. Similar funding levels next year should be adequate, department heads said Friday. 

 

Public works director Doug Devlin and IT director Joel Clements gave brief department overviews to the Starkville Audit and Budget committee Friday that forecast no significant funding request increases for fiscal year 2014-2015. 

 

Combined, the two reports took about 20 minutes. 

 

Devlin said the city's wastewater treatment capabilities are strong, but Starkville's aging pumps, pipes and other water infrastructure require continued upgrades and rehabilitation projects in the coming years. The city's lagoon is also 18-24 months away from reaching capacity, but he said the department is expecting bids from companies to remove slush. 

 

"We're in good shape, but we have a lot of investing to do," Devlin said. 

 

Clements' department, too, will not require a budgetary increase to accomplish its goals next year, he said. 

 

This year, the department is expected to roll out public Wi-Fi Internet access in the area surrounding the Starkville Sportsplex. Clements is also working with architects to prepare for IT infrastructure needs for City Hall when its new Main Street location opens. 

 

Starkville's IT department unveiled two new programs earlier in the fiscal year, he said, that have become popular within the community: live streaming of aldermen meetings and an online credit card payment option for Starkville Municipal Court. 

 

When Ward 5 alderman and budget committee chairman Scott Maynard asked Clements what he would do with an additional $20,000 in budgetary flexibility, the IT director said he would look into hiring a part-time intern since the city is increasing its physical footprint. 

 

Maynard tempered his question by saying additional funding is not yet on the table or even guaranteed for the upcoming fiscal year. 

 

The city's website -- cityofstarkville.org -- is due for an aesthetic upgrade, Clements told the budget committee. Maynard suggested that the project dovetail together with a similar Greater Starkville Development Partnership initiative when it occurs.

 

Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch

 

 

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