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Officials to vote on conducting economic development study

MCCOMB — The McComb City Board will vote next week on whether to approve an agreement with a consultant to conduct an economic development study.

The Enterprise-Journal reports selectmen are considering a deal with Rick Duke, who has been chairman of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.

Duke said he is leaving the university in June in part because of a transition in leadership.

USM president Martha Saunders will step down on June 30. Former president Aubrey Lucas will serve as interim president.

The city will pay the university for any work Duke does before he leaves USM. After that, Duke will be paid the remainder of a $17,500 fee the board agreed to pay the university in February.

Duke will not be paid with city funds. Instead, he will be paid by an unnamed private benefactor.

Among the city’s selling points, Duke has cited McComb’s proximity to Jackson and New Orleans, its Amtrak service, a community college, retailing and recreational services.

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