By David Howell
COFFEEVILLE – The push for having a viable economic development effort in Yalobusha County is a step closer following the appointment of six trustees on the Yalobusha County Economic Development Authority (EDA).
Each Supervisor nominated a trustee from their beat during a recessed meeting held in Coffeeville last Friday. An at-large trustee was also appointed at the meeting.
Nominated by Supervisor Tommy Vaughn in Beat One was Earl Gibson Jr.; in Beat Two, Amos Sims selected Ray Hawkins; Keith Miller was appointed by M.H. “Butch” Surrette in Beat Three; Beat Four Supervisor George Suggs nominated Walt Moore; and in Beat Five, Frank “Bubba” Tillman selected Jane Dean Wortham. Following the nominations, an unanimous vote made the action official.
Next Eddie Ray was appointed as the at-large trustee, filling six of the nine positions by the end of the meeting.
There are now three remaining slots on the nine-person board, which will be filled by a representative of each municipality in the county.
Further discussion in the Friday meeting unveiled a difference in opinion concerning each town’s appointment.
Board Attorney John Crow advised supervisors that the ulimate decision appointing each of the three city appointees would be voted on by supervisors – following a recommendation from city officials.
“We need to stay away from people who hold political office,” Surrette said referring to the city appointments.
“It might not be the mayor, it could be someone else who might have an economic development background,” Surrette continued. “I got a concern about us just saying the mayors are going to be there, although I am not against any mayor,” Surrette said.
“These mayors were elected by a majority of people in town,” Vaughn responded, disagreeing with bypassing the mayors in filling the city’s appointments.
“I am trying to give city government a voice,” Surrette answered, referring to allowing aldermen from each city to make the recommendation on the city’s appointments.
“I want to see this done in a timely manner,” Lee McMinn added. The dicussion about the appointments originated after McMinn, who was on the agenda, had appeared before supervisors to follow up or offer assistance for the economic development process.
McMinn, who currently serves as president of the Yalobusha Economic Development Foundation, had appeared before the board a week earlier and had been promised that EDA board members would be appointed.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn agreed to contact each municipality asking for their input on the three remaining slots.
A tenative date of the Oct. 2 “first Monday” meeting was set to make the final appointments.
Other action taken at the meeting included:
• Accepted a recommendation by current Deputy Coroner Ronny Stark to hire Debbie Jackson as deputy coroner when Stark, who was elected as Coroner in the Democratic Primary Election, formally takes office on Jan. 1.
Supervisors also approved training for Jackson.
• Heard a request from Billy’s Creek Water Assocation to explore purchasing water from the county-owned Windsor Food water wells.
A representative with the Water Association’s engineering firm, Hill Lewis Wrenn, told supervisors that the water association was running out of water in peak times for customers in the Hwy. 32 to I-55 area.
He added there was no room for growth when it comes to adding new water customers in that area.
Larry Sprouse, who works with the water association, reiterated the pitch, explaining that the water assocation had taken on Cossar State Park and was stretched to the limt.
“We have got to go looking before next summer,” Sprouse said explaining that summer is the peak time for water use. The water association needs around 200 gallons per minute, Sprouse added.
Supervisors instructed Billy’s Creek Water Assocation to get with their engineering firm, Willis Engineering, to look research potential options for using water from the Windsor site.