St. Patrick and his power to banish snakes are needed after the Starkville Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday against a measure that would have resolved flooding and creepy-crawly issues along Northside Drive by the end of this year.
Northside Drive, off J.W. Mosely Drive in Ward 7, has a storm ditch that’s badly eroded and collects stagnant water during heavy rain. The cost to fix the project is estimated at $58,000.
Residents told the board the channel has been an issue for more than 28 years. Charles Johnson and John Hill said flies and snakes venture into their yards when the channel fills up.
“The thing hasn’t been cleaned out since 1984,” Johnson said. “We’ve had five mayors since then … We ain’t paying enough taxes?” he added, suggesting the project be important to aldermen.
The $58,000 estimate is in the middle of the road for the city’s current stormwater drainage projects list, which has roughly 28 projects ranging in cost from under $10,000 to $500,000.
The drainage improvements list hasn’t been prioritized. The city is researching the possibility of adding a storm-sewer utility fee to help offset costs of the project list.
Vice Mayor Sandra Sistrunk said the city has about $450,000 in its capital improvement budget, with an unspecified amount earmarked for the completion of Pat Station Road. The budget could increase depending on the results of the audit of the previous fiscal year.
“We need to look at our ending fund balance,” Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn said. “We all saw the situation and how the erosion is going on, but you’re not there in the summer when the smell is coming out and the snakes are coming out. We need it complete by 2012. We’re not catering to the citizens’ needs. This isn’t quality of life for them.
“We can find money to do many things, but we’ve got to start here,” Vaughn added.
Vaughn, along with Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins and Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey voted in favor of completing the Northside Drive ditch by the end of the year.
City Engineer Edward Kemp estimated reshaping the ditch and planting new grass would take about a month. He said it would resolve many of the issues with the ditch and make it easier to maintain. City crews have already added inlets and repoured concrete flumes coming off the street.
Read complete article at the Starkville Dispatch.