County gets assistance with removal of dirt for new road 8/14/2014

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

County gets assistance with removal of dirt for new road

By Rupert Howell

Supervisors agreed to contribute one-half the $138,500 bid to move dirt at the site of a connector road between House-Carlson and Pine Lodge Roads during Monday’s meeting in Batesville.

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The county had originally agreed to pay for clearing the area and dirt work with the city of Batesville paying paving cost once the roadbed is prepared.

After bids came in much higher than anticipated, the county asked for some relief from the city with the cost of earth moving. County crews and equipment spent much of last winter clearing the area that will be a corridor between Highway 6 east at Wal-Mart and Eureka Road at the I-55 overpass.

Batesville mayor Jerry Autrey attended Monday’s supervisor meeting and emphasized that the agreement for Batesville and the county to split the cost of the construction was another example of city and county working together to complete the task.

The city also requested county assistance with clearing right-of-way for a road to a proposed water well site near the road’s construction.

Later in Monday’s meeting Panola Partnership Executive Director Sonny Simmons borrowed from Autrey’s phrase of “working together” and told supervisors the Partnership, “Can’t function with that amount of reduction.”

Last week supervisors agreed to cut Panola Partnership’s allocation by $30,000 during a budget meeting. The county’s contribution during the current fiscal year is $160,000.

Panola Partnership is the economic development agency that actively solicits industry and business to Panola County and also acts as the county’s chamber of Commerce.

Simmons threw out figures of 1,250 new jobs in the past five years meaning $55 million in new payroll money for Panola County.

He also noted that $3 million had been invested in infrastructure in the past three years—money that did not come from Panola taxpayers. Speaking of the Airport Industrial Park, his office was currently answering an RFI (request for information) looking for a site of 150 acres noting that before that much property was not available.

“We are going to be competitive,” Simmons explained later noting that his agency could stand a $10,000 cut but not the $30,000 proposed by supervisors.

Simmons request was taken under advisement with board members later agreeing to recess until Wednesday to again take up budgeting issues.