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Search begins for new economic development director

The search is on for a new economic development director for Pearl River County.

The previous director announced he was leaving the position last week. Pearl River County’s Board of Supervisors hope to find someone to fill the position as quickly as possible, said Board President Sandy Kane Smith.

It took the county two years to find someone to initially fill the position. Many of the people the Board was interested in hiring were too expensive for the county, said Smith.

“So that’s what’s so nerve-racking about this. You get someone good and that’s a competitive market,” said Smith.

The Economic Development District still has applications on file from previous applicants and will contact some of the people who had been previously interviewed, said Smith.

The new economic development director will ideally have a degree in economic development, experience and strong people skills, said Smith. They’re also looking for someone with strong knowledge of state tax incentives.

“That’s where we’ve been lacking for years. Board members will meet with companies coming here and they’ll ask what the state’s doing for this, and there’s a lot of things the state does that we don’t know. That little window of time there can make or break a project.”

The county primarily funds the salary for the position. The city of Picayune also contributes $4,000 per month and has committed to doing so through September, said Smith. The city could decline or renew funding the program.

Smith thinks it is important for the cities in the county to help fund the position, but said the Board will continue promoting the county regardless.

“It ain’t all about who did what as far as the Board’s concerned, we just want it to come in our county,” Smith said.