Supes move ahead With Concourse project

Published 4:49 pm Thursday, March 7, 2019

By Jeremy Weldon

The Panola County Board of Supervisors moved one step closer to establishing the proposed Batesville Concourse of Northwest Mississippi Community College this week, voting to place public notices and hold a hearing in conjunction with an application to the Mississippi Development Authority for a Capital Improvements Revolving (CAP) Loan to buy the Outlet Mall at the corner of Hwy. 6 E. and Interstate 55.

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WIth the low interest loan of $2.6 million, the supervisors hope to be able to complete the purchase of the Outlet Mall and begin the process of making upgrades to the property. The purchase will also open up new avenues of funding from state and federal sources to bring the project from the drawing board to a working campus of Northwest.

Conceived from the idea that Panola County, and the surrounding counties of the region, would best serve existing North Mississippi industry and attract new business with a centralized workforce development program interwoven with traditional college curriculum.

The goal is to begin educating and preparing local workforce in high school, continuing that training and honing skills specific to area industry at The Concourse, and ultimately providing existing factories with a highly trained workforce capable of top performance in an ever-increasing technology based manufacturing setting.

Joe Azar thanked the supervisors for their continued support of the project and said he and Board of Supervisors president Cole Flint would meet with state legislators and other officials this week in the ongoing effort to shore up support for The Concourse in Jackson.

“I’ve never seen a county and all its municipalities get behind a project the way Batesville and Panola County has here, and I want to thank each of you for the work and support you have provided,” Azar said.

In other business, the supervisors heard more complaints from county residents about overdue garbage bills. Almost every meeting of the board involves some discussion of residents who have inherited property with oveArdue bills, often bills they were unaware of.

The supervisors once again held to their long-standing policy of not forgiving or reducing the principle amount of any garbage bill. The county will, and often does, wipe away added penalties and interest if customers agree to pay the original amount owed.