May 20, 2013 10:34:27 AM
Sistrunk key player in Starkville's recent growth
I have known many mayors and aldermen since I arrived in Starkville in 1955. I have witnessed gradual change over many years. The most dramatic changes have been in the last decade where more progressive and aggressive changes were made to create "Mississippi's College Town." More people have chosen Starkville as their home so that we are now the most populated city in the Golden Triangle.
Much of this success has occurred in the last four years where the current city leaders have accomplished what others have failed to do.
Alderman Sandra Sistrunk, with her strong financial background, helped to build on a foundation laid by the previous administration to build a new justice complex without an increase in taxes by using a private-public lease plan. Not without controversy, the city felt that with a city hall on the verge of collapse, any delay would hurt the growth of the community. This has been a problem for over 20 years.
On May 16, 2013, Jimmie Gates reported in the Clarion Ledger that Mississippi lead the nation in the 2012 presidential election with 73% voter turnout. By contrast, the recent municipal elections were about 30%. He states, "It amazes me that so few voters participate in electing the people on the local level who will have the most influence on their communities." In the recent alderman election for Ward 2, less than 400 voters out of 1,699 registered voters cast a ballot. I encourage Ward 2 voters to cast ballots on Tuesday and the mayoral on June 8.
Sandra has done an outstanding job in her service to the city. As the alderman's budget chair, she has conservatively used the budget as a management tool in keeping property taxes among the lowest in the state. In Ward 2, she was engaged in the widening of Louisville Street, getting Greta Lane paved, planning street and drainage repairs. She has been a critical part in a grant application to provide sewer service to an area annexed in 1998.
Last week, Sandra was recognized as "donor of the year" by Starkville Bridges Out of Poverty, an organization dedicated to eradicating poverty in Oktibbeha County.
As a volunteer at the Heritage Museum, I appreciate Sandra's generous personal financial support to help the museum keep pace with the growth of the community.
Sandra has been effective at working across political and philosophical lines and will be effective with a new administration. She has proven herself well in carrying out her duties. Your support in Ward 2 will be appreciated.