Allocated Funds

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2011

Partnership, Boys and Girls Club ask for allocated funds

By Billy Davis

Batesville aldermen voted Tuesday to make monthly payments to Panola Partnership after the Partnership CEO said a slowing cash flow was affecting the organization.  

The city has budgeted $110,000 for the Partnership during the current fiscal year, which began October 1.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons said the City of Batesville, now four months into the new year, had yet to contribute its first monies.  

“We’re running short on money to pay day-to-day expenses,” he told Mayor Jerry Autrey and the Board of Aldermen.

Aldermen also voted to make the city’s annual payment to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest Mississippi.

Boys and Girls director Belinda Morris appeared in person to request a portion of its $25,000 allocation from the city, saying funding has been cut at the federal level.

“We’re in dire need,” she said, adding that fund-raisers planned for February and March may help offset expenses.

After the city meeting, City Clerk Laura Herron said the city is giving the entire allocation to the Boys and Girls Club.

Morris did not directly ask for the entire funding, “but it’s easier, if we’ve got the money, to pay it all at once,” Herron explained.

Herron also said Batesville will give the Partnership $36,666 in “catch-up” funds, then start paying monthly beginning in February. The monthly payments will be $9,666, she said.

Panola Partnership is an umbrella organization for the Chamber of Commerce and Batesville Main Street, with Simmons overseeing its well-known role as industrial recruiter.

Simmons’ request didn’t go without a positive mention of local industries. He singled out Batesville employers GE Aviation and Parker-Hannifin and said those employers are hiring workers despite the lingering recession.

The City of Batesville was paying the Partnership $40,000 annually until last spring, when a compromise was reached with the Partnership and Panola County government.

As part of the agreement, Batesville increased its annual funding to $110,000. Panola County’s contribution jumped from $90,000 to $160,000 annually.

The new contributions came after some supervisors balked at spending $1 million for an industrial site near the Panola County Airport, when the Partnership and Batesville were expected to spend far less.

 The annual contributions were increased with the agreement that the Partnership would no longer request economic development funds.

The Partnership receives monthly Development Payments to the Partnership from LS Power, a contribution of approximately $300,000 annually that is set to continue through 2029.

Simmons told city leaders Tuesday that Panola County government is making its payments monthly to the Partnership.