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McComb embraces public-private partnerships for development

Leaders in the City of McComb took a significant step forward with the goal of growing their economy and tax base by taking swift action ratifying the Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Plan (TIF) as a tool for development and redevelopment in their city. Mayor Whitney Rawlings and the Board of Selectmen voted this week to approve the use of TIF throughout the city. The move follows a June 12 meeting of city stakeholders, which examined land use options for the city’s three interchanges on Interstate 55.

Mayor Rawlings says, “Our Board recognizes the financial benefits that will come to the City of McComb from partnering with developers on developments inside the city. My Board gets it. The City of McComb is open for business.” The City of McComb has already experienced a rapid growth in tax base from the recently enacted hotel-motel tax as well as their sale tax diversions. In part, the uptick in revenues comes as a result of the increased attention the entire Southwest Mississippi region is experiencing from the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale oil and natural gas exploration and extraction. Hotels and restaurants in the City of McComb are experiencing increased patronage which bodes well for further development opportunities in the city.

The city has other sites along I-55 corridor and in the downtown area suitable for new hotels including extended-stay products, boutique inns and bed & breakfast products. The city’s support of the tax increment financing option for both redevelopment and currently undeveloped sites will allow private sector developers to recoup their investments in the infrastructure supporting the new properties.

McComb’s hotel-motel tax is dedicated to support the rapidly growing parks and recreation system including the McComb Sports Park. “The allocation of the Hotel/Motel Tax revenue to the McComb Sports Park is having a positive impact on the Recreation Department and the City of McComb. The funds generated thus far have already been utilized to construct a third ball field, which has been in use quite literally from the moment of its completion,” says McComb Recreation Director Joseph Parker.

The June 12 stakeholder group also explored options to enhance sales tax revenue from new retail and restaurants. According to McComb Developer, Craig Haskins, “Tax Increment Financing, TIF, can be a viable financing alternative to help create new retail development.”

The City of McComb has embarked in a year-long process focused on better capitalizing on all its community and economic development assets. This process is being led by consultant, Rick Duke. “The city has an opportunity to address some of the challenges of its past and make giant strides toward laying a foundation for a remarkable future,” says Mr. Duke. Stakeholder sessions will continue on a monthly schedule with the July 31st event focused on transportation. The Board of Mayor and Selectmen welcome broad input on opportunities.



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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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