Panola Industrial Site

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Panola misses out as Senatobia site chosen

By Rupert Howell

Panola Partnership Executive Director Sonny Simmons told supervisors Monday that not having an available industrial site ready may have already cost Panola County jobs.

Panola Partnership is the entity that serves as an economic development and industrial recruiting arm as well as a chamber of commerce for Panola County.

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Simmons told supervisors that the high tech manufacturer that recently chose to locate in Senatobia, had turned down Panola County early in the first round of the site process.

It is one of two industries, both of which went to locations that were “site ready,” that have announced locating elsewhere, according to Simmons, who said, “I am not saying we would have gotten them (if we had a site ready), but we probably wouldn’t have been eliminated in the first round.”

Simmons was meeting with the supervisor board to firm up their commitment to the airport industrial site on Highway 35 north of Batesville.

An earlier plan called for the city to extend services in the amount of approximately $500,000, with the Partnership providing $250,000 and the county participating to help bridge the $750,000 to $1 million gap needed to fund the $1.5 million project.

Supervisors worried about the economy and tax burden on citizens later agreed on a $100,000 contribution to the site’s improvement, a contribution that Simmons said was “. . . not going to improve the marketability of that site with that money.”

He mentioned that the LS Power plant would be put on the county’s tax rolls this coming year putting $200 million of real estate on raising possible taxes of $1.8 million.

District One Supervisor James Biirge suggested siting down with supervisors, Partnership Board members and City of Batesville’s board with Simmons noting, “We did that in January and I thought we had an agreement.”