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Local voices: Our first 100 days

 

Lynn Spruill

 

 

The tradition of marking the first 100 days in office came from President Franklin Roosevelt who was combating the disaster of the Great Depression with a barrage of proactive legislation. Fortunately for Starkville that isn't a problem we have to worry about. But in keeping with that presidential marker I thought I would offer up a breakdown for Starkville. For me, our 100 days simultaneously feels like yesterday and forever ago.  

 

Day one was July 3, 2017.  

 

The first day of a new term probably sets the tone in ways you just don't anticipate. I hadn't thought much about some of the newness of our team's first day. We held our inaugural prayer service at Unity Park, a first; we held our inaugural swearing-in service in the new city hall, a first; we held our "inaugural ball" as a community block party, also a first. All in all it wasn't a bad first day.  

 

You don't generally run for elected office on a whim and I absolutely did not run to be in a caretaker role. No better time to get started than day one. I believe this board has the vision to keep Starkville at the forefront of any discussion about what a successful city in Mississippi should look like.  

 

Day two was a national holiday. 

 

Day three we had our first board meeting.  

 

It was a typical new term board meeting with administrative matters like adopting rules of parliamentary procedure and electing a new mayor pro tempore. And since a city never sleeps, there were bills to pay and employees to hire. Done and done.  

 

We are trying handling business through work sessions. These are more relaxed opportunities to engender broader discussions. It is still a work in progress, but so far so good.  

 

Our board met with the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors to issue the bonds for a new industrial park. We had a concurrent meeting in which we each approved $7 million dollars in bond funds for a real shot at new industry in Starkville.  

 

Just like each government body does every year, we adopted our 2017-2018 budget. This one has no tax increase from the city.  

 

We have plans to issue bonds for streets improvements and drainage and we are looking at how to become the best sports tournament venue in the state while still respecting our need to serve our citizens through our local parks. I am proud to be working with our new school superintendent, Dr. Peasant, for a way to share recreation facilities.  

 

We have approved some changes to our alcohol ordinance that will hopefully help us as we work to expand opportunities in our downtown corridor. We have also extended the hours of sale so that the football lovers in town can watch at their favorite local hangout on Thursdays until 1 and Sundays until 12.  

 

For the first time downtown was the host of Bulldog Bash. It was an amazing display of how our downtown can be THE venue for Starkvegas fun. 

 

We have accepted a piece of donated property that looks like a great opportunity to turn into a downtown/urban style park along the Martin Luther King, Jr. Highway and Jackson Street corner.  

 

The police department are approved to move into their new location, the former city hall. That grand opening will be at 10:00 on Friday the 13th.  

 

There is a renewed focus on beautification so we can create an atmosphere of pride in our community. From landscaping to litter pick up we are putting our best foot forward and increasing our efforts to clean up our neighborhoods and streets.  

 

What is better than Starkvegas? More Starkvegas. The board is willing to consider what it means for Starkville to annex areas around us. If we can get that done in the next 2 years, we can leapfrog over others and become one of the top 10 cities in our state as reflected in the 2020 census.  

 

Since we adopted our state's first no smoking policy Starkville has been a leader in being a healthy place to live. Keeping in that vein we have also amended our smoking ordinance to include electronic cigarettes as part of what is considered part of the smoking devices prohibited in public places. 

 

Though my status is still under a legal cloud, this board has been stalwart in moving forward with an aggressive agenda that will make us the best we can be. I am honored to be part of such positive movement for our community.  

 

Whether we are showing our Starkville side or our Starkvegas side we are a great place to be and I can't wait to be part of where we are going over the next 4 years.  

 

Lynn Spruill is a former Dispatch columnist and current mayor of Starkville.

 

 

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