Author: Rupert Howell, The Panolian
Panola Partnership’s executive director Sonny Simmons asked for unity and harmony at Thursday’s meeting of Panola County Supervisors while presenting a PowerPoint slideshow of his organization’s successes and asking for a $10,000 budget increase.
Panola Partnership is the commercial and industrial recruiting arm for the county and also serves as a county Chamber of Commerce.
Some Panola supervisors had recently been critical of that organization’s success and mentioned cutting or at least reducing funds to that organization.
Simmons’ presentation covered the past four years and highlighted successes in that period, referring to 1,200 new jobs, $48 million in new payroll and $200 million in new investment had occurred at least partially due to Panola Partnership’s efforts.
He explained the additional $10,000 he was seeking would put the county at $110,000 and be used for travel.
He provided a list of events including plans and strategies for which the additional funds would be used, including a trip to Germany with Mississippi Development Authority as well as several in-state and out-of-state forums and conferences with consultants, economists, developers and the governor.
“These are not fun, vacation-type trips,” Simmons explained, “They are work. Down time is spent sharing marketing material with consultants.
“We can be more successful if we get after it—it takes money.”
The executive director also hinted of near finalization of additional land being purchased at the Airport Industrial Park and a letter of intent to sell 15 acres to an industry new to the area, “hopefully by the end of the year or first quarter of next year.”
The additional land purchase would allow the county to go after megaprojects with I-55 and infrastructure available.
Supervisors will next meet in Sardis at the First District’s Courthouse Tuesday, September 3 at 9 a.m. and will hold their budget hearing the following Monday at Batesville’s Courthouse following their regular 9 a.m. meeting at 11a.m.