An innocuous request to install three decorative flagpoles atop Starkville Police Department yielded a strong warning to the future administration against raising additional banners from Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins Tuesday.
Mayor Parker Wiseman said the building-mounted flagpoles, which were a $2,628.64 portion of an overall $27,942.42 change order for the ongoing renovation project, are intended to restore the building’s historical features, rather than fly flags.
The roofing choice — one which restricts people from standing atop the facility — and lack of a lift or tall ladder means the poles are expected to remain as a design feature, Wiseman said, instead of serving their primary function.
Perkins, who has long advocated building a “first-class” facility for the police department, voted for the change order after saying future aldermen should not attempt to “backdoor … a third flag.”
The vice mayor did not mention any specific flags in his comments Tuesday, but he was one of four aldermen who voted to not fly the state flag above municipal buildings in 2015.
“As long as the clear understanding is that the third flagpole is just a decorative measure, espouses the historic significance of the building … and we will not be trying to insert a third flag on that flagpole (he will support the measure). As long as we’re not trying to come in the backdoor with something; as long as we can talk straight and look each other in the eye — this is good, clean, healthy straight talk. We’re going to have a good understanding,” Perkins said. “When the honorable mayor is gone and somebody wants to make a request for a third flag … I think the record is clear.”
None of the board members suggested flying another flag above City Hall or the police station Tuesday, and Perkins concluded his comments by asking city staff to save the tape of the meeting for the future.
The overall change order also included requests for additional monitor locations, with data drops, power outlets and associated blocking ($10,838.60); bow truss bracing and floor joist modifications ($4,437.09); and additional building controls ($10,038.09).
Aldermen also accepted low quotes from Sullivan’s Office Supply for security benches that will be placed in holding cells ($3,966), Garner Computer Services for 42 internet protocol (IP) phones ($8,148) and Tiffin Metal Products for a pass-thru evidence locker with a refrigerated component and drying cabinet ($17,761).
Columbus-based Weathers Construction is handling the $4.48 million SPD renovation after aldermen last year authorized up to $5.4 million in bonds to pay for the project, fixtures, furnishings, fees for attorneys and bond writers and a $230,000 reimbursement to the city’s general fund, which covered a payment for architectural services.
SPD Chief Frank Nichols explained all of the change order requests to aldermen Tuesday and narrated a video showing the ongoing construction efforts.
Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn both said they want project architect Gary Shafer to attend future meetings and help explain variances and other requests as they arise.
“As much as we’re paying him — and he has been paid — he should be there standing by your side … to answer any questions (asked) by the mayor, vice mayor and members of the board,” Wynn said to Nichols. “If you can’t get it done, let me know.”
Officials previously forecast the renovation project to conclude in late May.
A 1-mill tax increase championed by Perkins last year is expected to roll off the books once the project is complete and all debts associated with it are retired.
City plans event for women’s basketball team
Officials are asking fans of the Mississippi State University women’s basketball team to line the streets Friday and show their appreciation after a historic season.
The team is expected to arrive at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall’s plaza for the program, which will also include music and MSU spirt groups.
A portion of Main Street, from Lafayette Street to City Hall, will be closed from 4-5 p.m.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch