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Choctaw, Webster, Montgomery counties plan economic development partnership

October 1st, 2012 No comments

When plans for a regional economic development organization in the Golden Triangle were unveiled last month, there was talk that similar set-ups would start to appear in other parts of Mississippi.

Since Sept. 14, two have been made public. Chickasaw County officials decided in late September that they would pursue a partnership with Pontotoc and Union counties. Monday afternoon, officials from Choctaw, Webster and Montgomery counties announced they were forming a union of their own.

Stone-Adams, a business development and consulting firm in Jackson, will handle economic development for the three counties as they form the partnership.

“This is a very good opportunity for Mississippi to show how collaboration and cooperation can provide a model for sustainable economic development,” Stone-Adams founder Nick Walters said in a press release.

The conglomeration will be called the Regional Economic Partnership of Mississippi when it starts operation, which should be by the end of the year, Walters said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. Walters said the idea arose about six months ago among supervisors from Choctaw and Webster counties as his firm’s professional services contract to handle economic development for Choctaw County was getting close to expiration. Montgomery County entered the discussion shortly thereafter.

Since then, each board of supervisors has voted to officially join the group.

Here’s the Mississippi Business Journal story about the Golden Triangle Regional Development LINK being a possible trendsetter.

Here’s Ross Reily’s column offering an endorsement to the idea of regionalism.

Chickasaw County mulls economic development partnership with Pontotoc, Union counties

September 24th, 2012 No comments

In this week’s Mississippi Business Journal, there’s a story that examines whether the forthcoming economic development conglomeration among the counties in the Golden Triangle could be the start of a trend.

The question might have already been answered, at least somewhat.

Leaders in Chickasaw County are considering joining an existing partnership between Pontotoc and Union counties. Remember, it was the partnership among Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties that developed the Wellspring site that eventually became home to Toyota. The PUL Alliance is considered the gold standard for regionalism in Mississippi.

Golden Triangle officials are hoping to replicate that success with their new arrangement, which doesn’t fully come online until October 2014. Seventy percent of the $2.5 million budget for what will eventually be the Golden Triangle Regional Development Authority will come from public entities within Oktibbeha, Lowndes and Clay counties. The other 30 percent will come from private sources.

For a complete story on Chickasaw County’s possible partnership with Pontotoc and Union counties, click here.

 

Details of Golden Triangle development organization unveiled.

September 17th, 2012 No comments

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.