Urban planner discusses future with Blue Springs

Mike Slaughter of Slaughter and Associates, urban planning consultant firm of Oxford, commended the mayor of Blue Springs and the aldermen members at their monthly meeting, Jan. 2, for the continuing progress in the town.

Slaughter and Associates drew up the town’s comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 2008. The comprehensive plan is an overall guide to the town that marks growth and issues that may arise in the town until the year 2030.
At the board meeting, the board adopted the 2006 International Building Code and hired Shane Davis, building code inspector for the town.
Slaughter said, “I am glad that y’all adopted the building code. You may want to consider adopting more codes in the future, like an unkempt property maintenance code, sign ordinances, or other regulations.”
He then went through a specific part of the town’s comprehensive plan and pointed out different areas to look at and discussed them with the board.
Under ‘Community Character,’ the plan states, “Identify what is important to the people of Blue Springs and develop policies to protect what is important.”
Under ‘Community Facilities,’ the plan states, “Target the PUL (Pontotoc Union Lee counties) alliance property at the northwest corner of Highways 178 and 9 for development of a potential fire or police station or a community center.”
Slaughter said, “One thing for you to think about in the future is implementing services – fire, police, recreation, etc. I am glad that you have already taken the step and hired a part-time police officer.”
He also discussed the town’s millage rate with the board. Currently, the town’s millage rate is 9.35 mils.
“Under 10 mils is very, very low. Most cities in Mississippi raise between 20 and 30 mils. You could increase taxes up to 20 mils in one jump. One mil would generate more in revenue because y’all have annexed. You need to have more revenue coming in. You need funding to build a road department or anything else that the town wants to accomplish in the future.”
In the comprehensive plan, there is a section that mentions beginning to develop/build capacity of/for a road department – contract engineer, combined Public Works Department, road inspector, etc. In that same section, the plan mentions that streets in Blue Springs and the planning area must be continually improved.
“Keep these things in mind when you are doing your budget. I commend you again for adopting the building code and hiring a building code inspector,” said Slaughter.
“The town has a zoning ordinance and a zoning map, so if you have any questions on that, don’t hesitate to call me. Code enforcement is not covered now, so you might want to think about that in the future as well. Do you want to deal with unkempt properties? Do you want to adopt a sign ordinance? You might want to take those steps soon,” said Slaughter. “Find a town that would serve as a good model for Blue Springs for a sign ordinance. The sooner you do it, the better off you are.”
He added, “You all also need to continue to implement public safety and public works. You also need to appoint members to be on a planning commission. Y’all have come a long way and I encourage you to take a couple more steps to continue to improve for the future.”
The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013 at Blue Springs Town Hall. The public is welcome to attend.