Starkville leaders approve building new city hall

STARKVILLE — Starkville aldermen have voted to build a new city hall and courthouse, and to convert the current city hall into a police station.

The current city hall dates back to 1968.

Aldermen voted 4-3 Tuesday for the construction project that was proposed by Mayor Parker Wiseman.

Construction of the new $6.7 million building should begin this fall and be finished by April 2014. Renovation of the current facility should begin in about May 2014 and cost $1.3 million.

The city and West Brothers Construction will establish a nonprofit corporation that will lease the new building to the city for 20 years. At the end of the lease, the city will own the building.

Demery Grubbs of Government Consultants said the city would have a maximum annual payment of about $515,000 for construction of the new building and $88,000 for renovation of the current building. He said Starkville has experienced about 3.4 percent annual growth in sales tax collections for about the past 10 years. He said the city will pay off current debt for other projects in 2013, and that will make more money available for the construction and renovation.

Alderman Roy A. Perkins voted against the projects, saying residents have voted twice against raising taxes and using taxpayer funding to furnish a new municipal complex.

“It seems like there’s a growing movement to do whatever you want to do and disregard the voice of the people,” Perkins said. “It doesn’t take a law or engineering degree to understand that when the people speak, the people have spoken.”

Wiseman spoke in favor of the new facilities.

“Negotiating this project and finding a way that this works . to me it is a testament to what is possible when government and the private sector meet to fulfill public needs,” Wiseman said. “(And it) does not require a tax increase for issuance of general obligation funds.”