April 18, 2017 10:50:42 AM
A new facility at the Steel Dynamics, Inc. campus will be an expansion of New Process Steel, Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders confirmed during Monday's board meeting.
The board on Monday approved two loan resolutions for the project, which the Golden Triangle Development LINK dubbed "Project Garage." In early March, supervisors approved about $1.7 million in grants and loans for the $7.5 million steel processing facility, which is set to be located on part of the Steel Dynamics, Inc. site at the industrial park west of Columbus.
New Process Steel operates a facility at 280 Industrial Park Road that employs 45 people, according to the LINK. The new facility is expected to add 50 jobs.
The expansion will need $750,000 in Development Infrastructure Program grants from the Mississippi Development Authority for road improvements, and up to $1 million in a state loan to pay for a rail spur from the railway near the SDI campus.
Funding requires county approval because the money will flow through Lowndes County to New Process Steel, but the company will be responsible for paying the loans, according to LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins.
"This just goes to show that Columbus is a good place for industry," Sanders said. "It's great that we can have some expansion from people who are already here. Most of the emphasis is on getting new people and new industry, but this is an older industry that's been here and evidently they're real happy with what's here and they decided to expand their operation."
The Dispatch could not reach a New Process Steel representative for comment by press time.
Supervisors tapped the brakes on naming Roger Short, former executive director of the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority, as the county's interim recreation manager.
The position would help prepare for the county's split from the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority, which is effective Oct. 1. Supervisors issued the county's intention to withdraw from the inter-local agreement governing the recreation body last fall.
Supervisors voted unanimously to table the matter until the next regular board meeting.
County Administrator Ralph Billingsley, who said in the meeting he and supervisors have spoken to Short about filling the interim roll, recommended the board hire him for $36,000. He said the $36,000 salary is half of what the recreation manger position would pay, and Short would start on May 1.
However, District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks said the board should wait to vote on hiring Short until it created a job description for the position.
"I know Roger will do a good job," Brooks said. "There's no question about what he can do. But I just think for the sake of -- if we hire him and he leaves tomorrow, we have no job description for anybody else. ... Even if he gets with Ralph, there needs to be a job description somewhere."
District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith supported Brooks' suggestion, saying he didn't believe supervisors should set precedent in creating hiring for a job that has no description. He said the board could table the matter, allow Billingsley time to craft a description, then vote on the hire at the next board meeting.
Sanders suggested Short could work with Billingsley on a job description for the interim recreation manager position which would last through Oct. 1.
"Whatever happens after October 1 is going to be a different job description because you're going to have different responsibilities," Sanders said.
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