PROTECTING OUR NEIGHBORHOODS
I am committed to protecting the integrity of our neighborhoods by promoting buffer areas where new development joins our subdivisions. When we have strong neighborhoods, property values are maintained and improved. With strong property values, the tax base is maintained and provides financial resources for the community.
As Mayor, I will work to ensure that our neighborhoods are protected by ensuring that as surrounding areas are inevitably developed, it is done in a manner that will compliment and enhance the existing neighborhoods. In order to accomplish this goal, I will institute a mayoral charrette process to allow our adjoining affected land owners the opportunity to speak in an uncontested and non-adversarial forum.
STRONG SUPPORT FOR OUR STARKVILLE OKTIBBEHA SCHOOL DISTRICT
Education is the foundation of our entire community. In order to provide a work force capable of supporting local industry, we must have well-educated and well-trained citizens.
In order to achieve this goal, we must support our current educators, and when positions become available, we must locate and recruit capable administrative leaders and educators to join our school district.
As Mayor, I will work with the Starkville Oktibbeha School Board to ensure our educators have the resources available to effectively execute their job in the classroom. We must let our educators know that we support their efforts.
SUPPORT OUR LOCALLY-OWNED SMALL BUSINESSES
As we see national developers enter our market, it is important that our locally owned small businesses are not neglected by the city. The city must promote local opportunities to develop around these growth areas. To ensure success of our local businesses, we must ensure our regulations are not so cumbersome that our local businesses are forced out of the market.
As Mayor, I will ensure that locally-owned small businesses are not neglected and are treated fairly.
IMPROVING THE CITY’S IMAGE WITH LOCAL AND NATIONAL DEVELOPERS
Having worked as legal counsel with multiple local and national developers over the last 30 years, I have seen the city’s image as a business-friendly community deteriorate to a critical level. Some of this criticism is justified, and some of it is not.
As Mayor, I will use my knowledge of the development process and work with these developers for an outcome that is fair to both the City of Starkville and local and national developers.
DEVELOP SAFE, WELCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR OUR YOUTH THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY
It is important that our youth have safe and productive activities available in the city. We, as a city, must work hand-in-hand with our Parks and Recreations department to continue to grow these sports and civic activities to ensure our youth have a safe environment to play and develop.
As Mayor, I will reach out to the Boys and Girls Club, local community leaders, and ministers from our local churches to explore how the city can utilize its resources within our community to enable our community to reach its full potential to provide positive recreational activities for our youth. Our goal should be to improve the lives of our children and grandchildren who represent our future.
PARKS AND RECREATION
The existing condition of our park facilities must be carefully reviewed. The facilities, fields, and common areas between our fields are in desperate need of attention. Additional fields and parking are needed to attract tourists to our city to support our local businesses and our community. As Mayor, I will reach out directly to our local citizens to gain first-hand knowledge of how best to implement such improvements.
SUPPORTING OUR FIRST RESPONDERS
Fire and police protection must be increased. We currently have one fire station that cost $1,000,000.00 to construct which is currently unmanned. We are approximately nine police officers short of the optimum number of officers for a city of our population. As Mayor, I will institute a plan to provide a safe community for our citizens as well as the officers, the firefighters, and the first responders who protect us.
As Mayor, I will work with the Starkville Police Department and Fire Department leaders to ensure they have the resources they need in order to maintain their departments and provide their workforce with the resources they need to safely perform their jobs. When we ask our first responders to risk their lives to protect all of us, it is incumbent on us as city leaders to make sure they have the resources and manpower to perform their job in a safe manner.
BUILD A STRONGER RELATIONSHIP WITH MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY
It is imperative that the city create and maintain a strong bond with Mississippi State University. We must seek a common mindset to become partners to capitalize on needs and ideas that will provide increased opportunities for both the city and our University. In order to reach this goal, we must have an increased communication level from our city administrative level.
As Mayor, I will work to build a strong professional relationship with Mississippi State University Administrators. I would like to see roundtable style discussions that will facilitate a partnership that precipitates growth for our city and University.
ENSURE ALL WARDS RECEIVE ADEQUATE IMPROVEMENTS
It is important that we develop a plan for city improvements that is equitable to all the Wards. We must initiate infrastructure improvements and repairs consistent with our goals across all Wards to grow our tax base without burdening our tax payers with continuous millage increases.
As Mayor, this is an issue I will pursue immediately.
DEVELOP AND INSTITUTE A POLICY REGARDING TAX INCREMENTAL FINANCING TO ENSURE PREDICTABLE RESULTS AND TO REMOVE SUBJECTIVE STANDARDS
For our city to move forward, at times it will be necessary to use Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) for specific projects. It is imperative that we establish an objective basis for those decisions and that these requests be made at the initial onset of projects to avoid confusion and dissension between the city and developers.
As Mayor, I will consult with our Aldermen and city leaders to ensure that an equitable system is in place.
IMPLEMENT THE NEW COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AND DEVELOP A SUPPORTING CODE OF ORDINANCES THAT MODIFIES OUR OUTDATED BUILDING REGULATIONS TO CURRENTLY ACCEPTED STANDARDS
A major Comprehensive Plan was just approved by the Starkville Board of Aldermen. It will be necessary to codify that plan for the use of developers and the city. We need to be certain that this process is implemented in a fair and systematic manner and is straightforward to developers who desire to be part of our community and is not burdensome for our administrators to implement.
As Mayor, I will use my thirty years of experience in the Real Estate market to ensure the code is fair to everyone.
Major improvements are needed on Highway 182. We must execute a plan to revitalize Highway 182, and with T-District zoning and potential Tax Incremental Financing, we can revitalize Highway 182 to what it once was.
As Mayor, I will work to provide a mechanism to encourage growth and development along this important corridor.
CONTINUE DEVELOPING THE HIGHWAY 25 BY-PASS
With the construction of the new Walmart Neighborhood Market, we will see a change in traffic patterns along the By-pass that will allow our local citizens to participate in new growth for Starkville along the Northern and Eastern perimeters of our city. The Walmart Neighborhood Market alone will create in excess of approximately eighty new jobs for our community.
Additionally, we must promote development in the Western areas of Starkville where city infrastructure already exists.
As Mayor, I will continue to market all parts of our By-pass to local and national developers to create jobs and provide our citizens with a mix of retail development.
INSTITUTE A PROGRAM TO ENSURE RETENTION AND TRANSFER OF INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION
The city needs to ensure retention of key city employees. We spend thousands of dollars training employees just to have them leave after acquiring sufficient experience to transfer to private companies.
As Mayor, I will ensure that our city employees receive adequate training and there is a plan in place to ensure retention of our hardworking city personnel.