February 20, 2013 10:07:58 AM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
A once contentious point of debate ended with light discussion and overwhelming support Tuesday as Starkville aldermen approved an alternative solution to Carver Drive's longstanding drainage issues.
The board voted 6-1 to rescind a previous order authorizing $175,000 for a Carver Drive channel restoration project and replaced it with a motion to concrete the ditch's sides and bottom. The previous project's funding will be diverted for the new project.
The motion, introduced by Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins, calls for the city to use city employees or contractors. Work would begin once the project is approved by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Perkins' motion also authorizes the city to submit all necessary documentation for review to the two agencies and allows staff to follow up with the process in order to expedite the project.
The motion passed 6-1 after Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver asked officials if level funding would allow the same amount of work proposed in the initial plan. City engineer Edward Kemp said he had not conducted cost estimates for the project and was unable to elaborate on the project.
During discussion, Perkins said the city would concrete as much of the ditch as it could with the available funding.
Carver cast the lone "Nay" vote.
Perkins previously supported a plan to pipe and cover the Carver Drive ditch, but aldermen voted in June to proceed with the less-expensive channel restoration efforts. Monday, he said this current compromise would solve many health and quality of life issues Carver Drive residents have faced for decades.
Following the vote, Perkins thanked those aldermen who supported the measure and said he would tell his constituents about the leadership they exhibited Tuesday.
"This is a great victory for the residents of Carver Drive," Perkins said after the meeting. "We are so humble and genuinely appreciative to the five members who voted in the affirmative for the project. We have been working diligently over the last several years to make this project become a reality. We are so grateful and thrilled with the board's action. It's a great compromise in regard to the alternative proposal."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch