County proceeds with efforts to form economic development council

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pearl River County District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry spoke to the Rotary Club of Picayune Tuesday about the progress on the county’s proposed economic development council.
After receiving a draft of the council’s by-laws from the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District, Perry said the Board was trying to decide which non-profit classification it wanted to use.
After consulting with a Jackson attorney, Chris Pace with Jones Walker Law Firm, the Board decided to organize a 501(c)(6), commonly used for businesses and chambers of commerce, Perry said.
Pace is also known for working with what is called the “Golden Triangle,” which consists of Columbus, Starkville and West Point and the respective counties.
Pace will continue to help the Board through the final legal process to establish the organization, Perry said.
He is being compensated through a grant from the Mississippi Development Authority, Perry said.
The organization has been in development over the past year as a way to promote economic development in the county.
The organization will be led by an 11-member board, consisting of one appointment each from Picayune and Poplarville, one appointment from each supervisor and one at-large position, Perry said.
He said he hopes the legal documents will be drafted shortly and the appointments made within the next few months.
Once a Board is established, it will use the $150,000 funds supplied by the county to hire an executive director and other staff at its discretion, Perry said.
The Poplarville Board of Aldermen is also expected to contribute funds this year, with the Picayune City Council holding off on a decision this year, Perry said.
As of now, Perry said extra taxes would not be levied to fund the organization. However, the Board has discussed a one percent sales tax increase on prepared foods and lodging, but that would require legislative approval.
During the Rotary Club meeting, Perry also discussed ongoing renovations to the county courthouse in Poplarville.
The $1.2 million project has presented unique challenges of meeting architectural guidelines due to the history of the building, Perry said.
The county has also discussed building annexes on adjoining properties to the courthouse as a way to consolidate county offices, he said.
Although Perry said he previously suggested the county construct a new, modern courthouse on the old MovieStar lot on the corner of Highway 11, property the county already owns. However, that property is currently being considered for use in the development of a grocery store.

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About Julia Arenstam

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