Sonny Simmons Panola Partnership CEO 9/2/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Partnership appreciates city covering shortfall

Sonny Simmons

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Panola Partnership CEO

The Panola Partnership owes a huge debt of gratitude to the City of Batesville for its support of our organization.

 The funds that are provided by City of Batesville and Panola County are a critical component to our function as an economic development organization. Without this financial support we could not operate at a level to be competitive with other organizations. 

This year the Panola County Board of Supervisors, due to a shortfall in revenues, had to cut our budget allocation by $20,000. We operate on a very tight budget and this reduction would have forced us to cut services, reduce our marketing efforts and negatively affect our overall economic development plan. 

Without us having to ask, the City of Batesville voted to give us a one-time additional contribution of $10,000 to help make up this shortfall. There may very well come a time when the city experiences a shortfall due to unforeseen circumstances. If sometime in the future this is the case, I hope the county will be willing to do the same. We all must work together if we are going to reach our maximum potential.

The good news is, there are several new industries that have located in our county in the past few years and others that have expanded their operations that were granted tax abatements that will soon expire. By law, these tax abatements can only be granted for a period of 10 years, and in several cases these exemptions have been in place for over 5 years. That means in a few more years the county, cities and the school districts will be getting a full share of what is due. In addition, the spin off from this new industrial job growth and the new payrolls now in circulation will help bring new retail growth and expansion opportunities in this sector of our economy. 

I truly believe we are on the right track for sustained growth. The dollars that are contributed to the Partnership from our local elected officials should in all reality be an investment and not an expense. The old saying, “It takes money to make money” is so true. We have to have adequate revenue in order to operate at a level that will keep us competitive, but if we do our job and do it right, these supporting entities should see a significant return of their investments. It is our responsibility to make sure this is the case.

Forever forward