Starkville’s next step Explore the best choices for city facilty expansion

Starkville Alderman Jim Mills’ support for a second public referendum on bond money for new, renovated and expanded police, court and City Hall space deserves a detailed hearing.

However, both his fellow board members and Mayor Dan Camp should examine any proposal that would adopt a lower spending level and build inadequately for Starkville’s growth needs.

Voters rejected in September, by a sliver of a margin, a $9 million bond issue that would have financed a new city court and police department headquarters. The September referendum fell 23 votes short of the required 60 percent approval.

Mills worked against passage of the September proposal on cost grounds, and that position deserves respect. But what is gained in the long term if a less expensive bond issue is adopted and the new facilities it finances soon after require expansion?

Starkville has grown to more than 20,000 residents and it is operating at official levels in buildings and offices for a city half that size. Nothing is gained if new facilities reflect a city of 15,000 residents and not a population pushing toward 25,000 or perhaps 30,000.

In practical terms, Starkville’s city services operate for a city of more than 40,000, including Mississippi State University’s 16,000 students.

The total head count for the university and the city will continue growing because economic and population expansion and enrollment increases are pursued intentionally by the city’s and university’s leadership.

We hope the aldermen and Mayor Camp continue exploring possibilities but choose as the next step nothing less than fully adequate investment for a city on the move.