Details of Golden Triangle development organization unveiled.
Friday afternoon, government and economic development officials in the Golden Triangle unveiled a plan for an economic development cooperative they say will become the model of regionalism in Mississippi.
The Golden Triangle Regional Development Authority will not officially arrive until October 2014. Until then, the Golden Triangle Development LINK (which until Friday was known as the Columbus-Lowndes Development LINK) will handle the recruitment of industry to Starkville and Oktibbeha County, Columbus and Lowndes County and to West Point and Clay County.
The LINK’s new executive committee will be made up members from each county. The committee’s main objective will be implementing the plan that will eventually turn the new GTRD LINK into the GTRDA.
The consortium will have an annual operating budget of $2.5 million, 70 percent of which will come from public entities in the three counties that make up the Golden Triangle. The organization hopes to privately fund the remaining 30 percent via five-year agreements with area businesses.
The agreement was the result of a steering committee made up of representatives of each county. The plan was formulated after a series of committee meetings over the summer.
The work of each county’s existing, individual economic development organizations will continue, with the usual emphasis on retail development.
“There is still a very important local community development role to be played,” Starkville mayor Parker Wiseman said Monday morning. “Cultivating the existing economy will be a big part of that. (The local organizations) just won’t have the responsibility of major industrial recruitment. That will be left up to the LINK.”
Wiseman said there will not be a tax increase necessary “in the short-run” to pay for Starkville and Oktibbeha County’s portion of the LINK’s budget. By 2014, when the LINK is scheduled to become the GTRDA, each city and county entity will have to decide if they can fund their $350,000 obligation without raising taxes as much as two mills.
Details of the new organization can be found on the LINK’s website.