October 25, 2012 10:17:48 AM
Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors president Orlando Trainer said the supervisor will hold a joint session with the Starkville Board of Aldermen on Wednesday to address a proposed contract with a new economic development group.
The tri-county group, the Golden Triangle Regional Development Authority, is an off-shoot of the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link, which has operated in Clay and Lowndes counties.
The idea of bringing Oktibbeha County and Starkville into that coalition was first announced in September. Organizers of the new group led by Link CEO Joe Max Higgins hoped to have contracts with Starkville and Oktibbeha County signed by the end of October. However, neither the county supervisors nor aldermen held a vote on the issue in their last regular meetings of the month.
The contract, a two-year interim deal, includes contributions to GTRDA from the city, county, the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. In total, the four entities would contribute $350,000 a year under the contract.
Higgins had hoped to have the contracts signed in order to begin the search for an economic developer who would work exclusively on development in Oktibbeha County and Starkville.
When the contract failed to appear on the supervisors' Oct. 15 agenda and then was tabled at the Oct. 16 aldermen meeting, it looked to Higgins like the developmental stages of the GTRDA would fall behind schedule.
If both boards meet and approve the contracts next Wednesday, they will have just met the timetable.
Higgins said that a headhunter is ready for the word to start the search for Oktibbeha County's developer, but that it would be difficult, even if everything was on schedule.
"We did a four-month process for West Point, but it was hard," Higgins said. "So I won't say every day, every week counts, like it's a deal stopper, because it's not. But every day and week that goes by puts us a little farther behind."
Nothing has been finalized, but Trainer said he only lacks checking with one or two other people to make sure the time for the special call meeting is acceptable.
Trainer said the meeting is tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Mayor Parker Wiseman could not be reached by press time on Thursday, but Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey and Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas both said they knew that there were discussions about a Wednesday meeting. Neither said that meeting had been confirmed, however.