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Starkville prepares for possible wholesale change on P&Z board


Carl Smith



Aldermen have begun a process to fill expected and possible Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission vacancies early as the group could have four new members on July 1. 


Seating planning and zoning commissioners early became a priority after two commissioners -- Ward 1's Jason Camp and Ward 5's Patrick Miller -- qualified to run for aldermen this municipal cycle and term limits prevent Ward 6 Commissioner Ira Loveless and Ward 7 Commissioner John Moore from seeking their third consecutive terms. 


The city's deadline for letters of interest for the two expiring seats is Feb. 28, and the two terms will run until 2023. 


Moore's and Loveless' last day as commissioners is June 30. 


Aldermen could appoint their replacements as early as March. 


If Camp and Miller are successful in their election bids, then the two men, along with the rest of the incoming Starkville Board of Aldermen, are expected to pick their replacements on the planning and zoning board after they take office July 1. 


Both Camp's and Miller's terms expire in 2021. 


Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins is backing former Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas to represent Ward 6 on the commission, saying the former elected official's wealth of experience and leadership will help the city grow in the future. 


In an email to The Dispatch, Perkins confirmed receiving Dumas' letter of interest for the upcoming vacancy and stated his "full support" of the former alderman's appointment.  


No other letters of intent have been received as of Tuesday, a city official confirmed 


If confirmed, the former Ward 5 alderman will bring a "unique and exceptional" skill set to the board table, Perkins said. 


"Given all of the capacities and positions he has served in, he is uniquely experienced and well-qualified to serve in this very vital role. He was instrumental with the form-based codes and with T-districts when he was a member of the board of aldermen, and he has been involved in a number of zoning matters in the past," Perkins said. "He brings a wealth of talent and experience to this role, and I am just so honored that he even made the request and is giving this special consideration for public service. With him being on the board, he will be able to give very fervent and strong leadership, guidance and direction, which will move in a path that will promote growth and the best opportunities for Starkville." 


Dumas defeated current Republican Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard by 29 votes in 2009's Democratic Primary and won the seat outright by defeating Republican Michael Allen by about 130 votes.  


He did not seek re-election in 2013 and later transitioned into his current role as Mississippi State University's director of parking and transit services, which manages the Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit (SMART) public transportation system.  


Dumas currently serves on the Starkville Stormwater Hearing Board, which has only met once this term, and his appointment expires July 1. 


"Since moving to Starkville in 2006, I have worked hard to better the community that we ... love and call home," Dumas said in his letter of intent to the city. "Not only will I bring experience and knowledge to the table, I will bring a passion and ethic that will be unmatched when working to better our community."


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



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