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Officials revise interim economic contract

October 28, 2012

Members of the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Agency and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership Executive Council are expected to execute a recently amended interim agreement for regional economic development at a 5:30 p.m. meeting today at the GSDP building.

Previously, county developers planned to enter a two-year agreement which would place economic development in the hands of the Golden Triangle LINK, the rebranded name for a consortium between Lowndes, Clay and Oktibbeha Counties, while tri-county representatives work toward establishing a more-permanent agency — the Golden Triangle Regional Development Authority —in 2014.

The new contract changes the interim agreement from two to three years and also adds a provision that voids the agreement if legislation is drafted to establish the GTRDA before the contract expires.

Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said the extension does not mean developers are pushing back the date to establish the GTRDA.

“This arrangement offers more flexibility for the city and county going forward in making the decision in the future as to whether to seek public and private legislation (to establish the GTRDA),” Wiseman said.

“I think this is exciting for Starkville, for Oktibbeha County and for the Golden Triangle. I am very enthusiastic about the potential for increased growth and development opportunities in this community that this agreement offers.”

For development services, the city of Starkville, county government, GSDP and OCEDA will pay the LINK a combined $350,000 per year. OCEDA and the GSDP are on the hook for $200,000 per year, while county government will pay $100,000 per year and the city is expected to contribute $50,000 per year. Under the new timetable, 12 $87,500 payments are staggered over the three years, from Nov. 1 to August 2015.

OCEDA President Jack Wallace said group members unanimously approved the organization’s portion of funding through a recent phone poll.

The Starkville Board of Aldermen tabled funding approval at its previous board meeting, and the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors have yet to address the issue during its meetings. The two boards will hold a joint meeting Wednesday to tackle the issue.

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