Joe Max Higgins on Bringing Industry to Starkville
STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch
GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins recently met with the Starkville board of aldermen, Oktibbeha County board of supervisors and Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority to talk about the issue of trust. He feels that economic development depends on it.
Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins and SV Industrial Park — Photo by Alex Holloway, Dispatch staff
From his perspective, he needs to know that he and the LINK can trust that they know what the area’s county and local officials expect, so as to make sure that proposals for economic investment will get heard and acted upon. He stated that, in Lowndes and Clay counties, he has a pretty good grasp on that; for Oktibbeha, not so much: “I do (know) in the other places,” Higgins said. “I don’t have that comfort here. . .there’s some of you that I don’t know how you’re going to vote and it’s scary,” he added.
On the flip side, Higgins stated that local leaders will need to know that they can trust the LINK to keep the cities’ and counties’ best interests in mind when bringing them new prospects and proposals: “We don’t go after and heavily incentivize deals that don’t pay more than our county averages,” Higgins said. “You can’t make your place be a better place by going after jobs. You need to go after good jobs.”
District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard spoke on the importance of such trust: “We’ve just got to trust Joe Max and his team. To this point, they’ve been good about keeping us in the loop,” Howard said. “But as things speed up, we’re not going to be able to call everybody together every time. He’s going to have to be comfortable that we trust him enough to say, ‘Joe Max is not going to bring us a bad deal.'”
Courtesy of The Dispatch (GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION)
From left, Macaulay Whitaker, Orlando Trainer and Harry Sanders (Courtesy of the Dispatch)
The Boards of Supervisors in both Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties are looking to attract the attention of E.ON Climate and Renewables North America Inc, in an effort to provide it with desirable tax incentives as they consider opening up a new location in southern Lowndes, southern Oktibbeha, or possibly both. The Boards approved a matching set of resolutions of intent for E.ON, according to Golden Triangle Development LINK Chief Operating Officer Macaulay Whitaker; the bulk of the property he described is in Lowndes County. The Lowndes Board also passed a separate resolution targeting NextEra Energy, Inc., which is looking at land in south Lowndes County.
Whitaker went on to say that both companies are looking for upwards of a thousand acres of land apiece: “Both are in the same state,” Whitaker said. “They’re gathering as much info as they can to make proposals to (the Tennessee Valley Authority). . . This doesn’t mean this is all that’s looking at the area,” she added. “These are just the ones who have contacted us for assistance to determine what their options might be.”
Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer said that he hopes these resolutions will show E.ON that area leaders are serious about bringing their business to our area:
“We’re hoping that by doing this we can help this project become a reality,” Trainer said.
Silicon Ranch and Synergetics, both solar companies, have local operations in the area that are doing well.
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STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The DIspatch
Circuit Judge James Kitchens recently affirmed a recent zoning change for a proposed 360-acre industrial park near Hwy 182 & Hwy 389. Starkville aldermen had previously re-zoned the parcel in question as appropriate for Manufacturing, but that decision was challenged by LMK LLC, Bettye Bell, Mary S. Bell, Margaret Copeland and Laura B. White. Judge Kitchens said that these appellants were unable to meet their burden “to show that the decision was invalid.”
As such, GTR LINK plans to go ahead and seek funding to the tune of $14 million that had been pledged by the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors and Starkville Board of Aldermen.
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