STARKVILLE — Edward Kemp will assume his father’s former role as general manager for the Starkville Utilities Department effective immediately.
Kemp previously served as the city engineer but officially began his new position Tuesday after the Starkville Board of Aldermen approved his hire at its regular meeting. Kemp’s father, Terry Kemp, retired from SUD at the end of March after 11 years of service as general manager.
Edward Kemp, a Starkville native, said he is excited for the new opportunity. He wants to continue his work as a public servant and be a part of the city’s growth and development.
“I know I have big shoes to fill,” Edward said. “My father spent his entire career in public service through his work in the utility industry, and it was a great opportunity working with him personally and professionally while I was city engineer.”
Over the past 14 years, Edward oversaw the city’s engineering and street departments, while also managing and planning more than $70 million in infrastructure-related improvement projects. Through his city engineer role, he worked with SUD on numerous construction, upgrade, maintenance and repair projects.
Before working for Starkville, Edward worked for Springer Engineering. He has served as state director of the Mississippi Engineering Society’s Tombigbee Chapter since 2016 and as a member of the Golden Triangle Solid Waste Authority since 2018.
“I’ve learned a lot during my time with the city, and every day, I get to work with people who take their responsibilities seriously and are always looking for opportunities to improve,” he said. “We know customers hold our work to a high standard, and that will continue being the focus for Starkville Utilities — serving customers with excellence.”
Mayor Lynn Spruill said the city is impressed by Edward’s leadership, his successful track record and the positive relationships he has established throughout the community.
“We’re excited to have him,” Spruill said. “I was very glad that he was interested in the job, and he proved himself to be extremely dedicated to the city and has a good skill set and work ethic that he brings to us. I know he will do an excellent job.”
The city will begin advertising for a new city engineer soon, Spruill said, with a potential interim engineer for the time being. The city will continue to have an in-house engineer to oversee the engineering and street departments.
Garbage bag extension
The garbage bag pickup deadline has been extended for Starkville residents.
The city’s garbage bag disposal program contributes a yearly roll of 104 bags to each Starkville resident, included in the monthly sanitation fee of $17.50. Residents had until April 1 to pick up their bags from the Starkville Sanitation Department, but the board voted to extend the pickup date until April 29.
Ward 5 Alderman Hamp Beatty said citizens have reached out to him asking for this extension because they forgot the deadline or have circumstances that prevented them from meeting it.
“The garbage bag thing has been published clearly on social media and on our website, but there are a few people that have still not picked up their bags,” Beatty said. “… I know we set a time limit on it, but I know some people have had some restraints … there are just some people who are going to be late doing stuff.”
Though the vote passed unanimously, Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins questioned whether it was consistent with other city policies, particularly those with deadlines.
“I know we in the past have been very strict with our deadlines,” Perkins said. “I can recall a situation once where we had a school board applicant who was maybe a day or two late with submitting an application, with submitting a letter of interest. We didn’t extend the deadline. This is a very important matter of our extending the deadline.”
Residents can pick up their bags from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the Sanitation Department office on 506 Dr. Douglas L. Conner Drive.
The city is considering extending its Leisure and Recreation District to Adkerson Way and to College View and the College View development.
College View, a student-living apartment complex in Starkville, recently added restaurants to its development, creating a recreational section aside from its residential area. The board held its first public hearing Tuesday to discuss bringing this new area into its Leisure and Recreation District to allow alcoholic drinks to be taken from restaurants in to-go cups.
The city will vote on this item at its next board meeting on April 19.
“Now people can come out of StaggerIn with a cup and stagger up the street,” Spruill said.