Date set for city-county meeting on industrial park

Oktibbeha County Courthouse (courtesy)

A joint meeting of city and county officials concerning the proposed industrial park will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 27 at the Oktibbeha County Courthouse.

Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer told the SDN on Tuesday the meeting will be open to the public, but could see aldermen and supervisors enter into executive session to discuss details of the project.

The meeting will be attended by bond attorneys, attorneys for the Board of Supervisors, the Starkville Board of Aldermen, the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors and officials from the Golden Triangle Development LINK.

"We are just trying to get our heads together on what we need to do with the next step," Trainer said.

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said she is looking forward to all parties getting information on the contentious project.

"I am glad that we will have the opportunity to meet together so that we can consider the options and hear the information from which we can then make an educated and deliberate decision collaboratively," Spruill said.

The Starkville Daily News reported in May that Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens upheld the decision by the Starkville Board of Aldermen to rezone the property for the proposed 380-acre industrial park.

However, the development could face a delay after property owners appealed Kitchens' ruling on the rezoning to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

One of the appellants in the dispute over the industrial park, Laura B. White, told the SDN on Tuesday she planned to attend the meeting.

"I'll try to come for it because I need to be there," White said. "(The appellants) have not received the transcript from the court yet, so we're waiting on that, and it could take years to work its way through the court. We are waiting and seeing."

White said those pushing for the industrial park to come to fruition are asking tax payers to pay $14 million for a project that may not yield the returns promised by proponents of the park.

"Unemployment is down at its lowest point in years, so the need for economic development and jobs is not as strong as when the other plants came in, and with the sales tax figures, Starkville sales tax figures are up," White said. "The theory is spending $14 million and we will have something to show, but the infrastructure costs will be enormous to attract that industry."