County Wishlist

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2008

County has wish list for federal dollars

By Billy Davis

Panola County may never receive a dime of federal funds, but local officials have a wish list of infrastructure improvements that could benefit from a flood of federal monies.

The wish list includes federal monies to improve 55 miles of county roads, constructing the new industrial park, and paying Batesville’s $350,000 bill for a sewer improvement project on Martin Luther King Drive.

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“My understanding is that the federal government wants projects that are ready to be started on immediately,” Supervisor Gary Thompson said this week, referring to the economic stimulus plan.

Congress is expected to take up the plan next month, when President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

The President-elect is pushing the plan as a boost to the country’s flat economy and poor employment figures.

With the issue looming, Thompson and other local leaders went to Tupelo last week to hear Mississippi 1st District Rep. Travis Childers describe the economic plan.

“There was an overflow crowd,” recalled Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey. “I had to stand in the doorway to listen.”

In addition to Thompson and Autrey, the Panola County delegation included Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons, Sardis Mayor Rusty Dye, Supervisor James Birge, and engineer David Evans.

Autrey said Batesville projects include water and sewer lines at Covenant Crossing, the planned addition to Fire Station No. 2, the sewer project, and the county/city animal shelter.

In the county, road manager Lygunnah Bean compiled a list of 19 roads in all five county districts.

The list includes 4.5-mile long Sardis Lake Drive, a federal project that has been bottled up in Congress for years.

 Old Panola, Springport, Curtis, and Tocowa, and Eureka roads are the longer roads on the county list.

County engineer Larry Britt has compiled a list of bridge improvements, Bean said.