Pictured are approved study areas defined for annexation. Photo by: Courtesy photo
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November 22, 2017 11:03:49 AM
Starkville aldermen approved proposed study areas for annexation Tuesday.
Consultant Mike Slaughter, whose Oxford-based planning firm Slaughter and Associates is conducting the annexation study for the city, presented the proposed areas to aldermen during a Friday work session.
The areas primarily push the city's borders east, beyond Mississippi State University and along a portion of Highway 12. They also bring in some territory to the south on the city's eastern side, as well as in the southwest, along Highway 12, to include the residential area around Horseshoe Circle. A small block of land is also included to the city's north, to bring Collier Road, part of which juts out beyond city limits, fully into Starkville.
Aldermen approved the study areas on a 5-2 vote, with Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn opposing.
Mayor Lynn Spruill, who brought the idea of the annexation study before the board in October, said the areas are simply for study and do not obligate the city toward annexation.
"When I say study, I mean whether or not this is feasible -- whether it's economically feasible, whether it's feasible in terms of services for both us and those who would be coming into the city," Spruill said.
Spruill said a large number of Oktibbeha County residents have moved to live on the east side of MSU's campus, making it a prime consideration for annexation.
The city is also in talks with the university about it being a part of the annexation, she added.
"There are opportunities to do that, with their concurrence, and we're working to do that," Spruill said. "They would prefer that we not have their streets--they want their own streets and their own police. They pretty much want what they have now, which we are perfectly content with."
Under such an arrangement, the city would provide fire service, power and sewer services.
Aldermen approved the annexation study in early October on a 4-2 vote, with Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins opposing. Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn was absent from that meeting.
The study will be conducted in two phases, the first of which will cost $6,000 to $8,000, and the second of which will cost $5,000 to $7,000.
With the study areas set, Slaughter and Associates will begin gathering data, such as population, racial composition, land areas, miles of streets, assessed value and the impact of bringing the land in on the city's fire rating.
Vaughn questioned why the city is looking to expand when there are still roads from a 1998 annexation -- the last annexation Starkville conducted -- that still need to be paved.
"Why would (the city) go out there and (not) pay attention to these roads and try to bring these roads up to standard?" Vaughn said. "It seems like we're fixing everything going to Mississippi State -- and I have nothing against it -- but it seems like we're fixing everything going that way and we've got something we should have fixed in 1998.
"It's still not fixed," he added. "As soon as you start going toward Rock Hill Road, you've got Roundhouse right there -- a rock road. I mean, we're looking like the county. We avoid the rock roads we've got in the city limits but we want to fix everything else."
Perkins, who told The Dispatch on Friday he opposed the measure, also cited roads from the 1998 expansion that need to be paved, such as Jessie Road, Roundhouse Road, Fannie Dale Road and Treasure Lane.
Vaughn said the unpaved roads have been an issue since before he joined the board of aldermen in 2009 and which the city hasn't adequately addressed.
"We say quality of life," Vaughn said. "But do we really mean quality of life for everyone. Do we?"
Spruill acknowledged the city can do more to address the issues Vaughn raised. However, she said that shouldn't prevent the city from looking to bring in areas nearby that already benefit from being close to it.
"I don't think that precludes our ability to take in other areas that are already benefiting from city services," Spruill said.
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