Board approves TIF plan, Poplarville retail center moves forward

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors approved a Tax Increment Financing plan Monday that will help defray infrastructure costs associated with the development of a retail center in Poplarville.
The plan provides for the $7.1 million construction of College Square Retail Center by local developer Jimmy Pickering.
The TIF plan was put together by Urban Development Toolbox representative Laurence Leyens, who presented it to the Board Monday.
Leyens said the project, if constructed, would generate about $51,000 annually in ad valorem taxes to the county.
The county then pledged up to 50 percent of those increased funds to pay off the TIF bond, he said.
“Any expenses will be reimbursed from the bond itself, including advertisement for this hearing,” Leyens said.
School and other taxes cannot be pledged, he said.
Ramey’s will move into the new development upon completion, Brad Ramey, president of the company, said.
Ramey said he would continue to lease the property where the store is currently located on Main Street, but he was unsure what the space would be used for.
“I’m not going to let it go dark,” he said.
Ramey said he exhausted every effort to make the current location work before deciding to move forward with plans for the retail center on Highway 11 across from the Pearl River Community College campus.
“Seventy cents of every dollar is leaving the city of Poplarville in grocery sales,” Ramey said. “How are you going to convince them to stay here to live when they don’t even stay here to buy groceries?”
The retail center will include 40,000 square feet of other retail space, Leyens said.
The Board voted to approve the plan, with Board President Sandy Kane Smith voting against it.
Smith said he doesn’t disagree with the development, just the idea of a TIF bond.
“I hope you prove me wrong,” he said.
Leyens said an inter-local agreement will be drafted between the city and county before the project can move forward. The county currently owns the land and will begin the process of selling it to Pickering for development.
“They’re ready to begin in the next 60 days,” Leyens said.
In other matters, the Board announced that the bridge on McNeill Steephollow Road near Interstate 59 will be closed from Wednesday to Sunday for repairs.
The Board also approved the purchase of two rail tanker cars that will serve as temporary culverts on Hickory Grove Road. County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the state approved state aid funds to fund the project, saving the county about $300,000.
In other matters, the Board:
-Voted to hold a public hearing on Sept. 15 at 9 a.m. to approve the annual budget.
Some of the Board members will attend a meeting with the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District at Pearl River Community College on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.
The Board will hold another budget workshop Aug. 28 at 9 a.m. in the county administrator’s office.
Its regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 9 a.m.

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About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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