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County’s Economic Team Geared Up For Progress

By David Howell
Editor


WATER VALLEY – Job retention and job recruitment are at the top of the list for Yalobusha County’s first full-time Economic Development District (YCEDD) Director, Bob Tyler.

    Tyler has been on the job since late 2007, after county supervisors voted to designate and fund an economic district last summer.

    Supervisors appointed six Yalobushians to the board, one from each Beat and an at-large member. The remaining three slots on the nine-person board were filled by an appointment from each of the county’s municipalities. Supervisors also appropriated $60,000 for the 2007-2008 fiscal year which began October 1.

First Step

    After getting up-and-going, the YCEDD board hired Tyler, authorizing a $3,000 monthly salary.

    “It is a fact that 90 percent of our businesses in the United States are small businesses with fewer that five employees,” Tyler said during a Monday interview with the Herald, in an effort to keep Yalobushians informed about their tax dollars at work with the new ecomomic development organization.

    “We must support our small businesses across the county as well as the businesses with many employees,” Tyler added – although the director is quick to stress that luring new companies and industries is also at the top of the list for the YCEDD.

The Tangibles

    Only several months into operations, the YCEDD has been intensely involved with several important projects including lobbying for a new regional jail that would bring an estimated 60 jobs and working with local business- man Cayce Washington to help Oxford industry Caterpillar relocate following horrific storm damage last month.

    In each of these projects, and others hopefully in the near future, Tyler is quick to point to key players.

    “There is an intense interest from our Board of Supervisors in our county’s economic development for our entire county,” Tyler reports.

The Support

    Tyler, who works hard to stay out of the limelight, believes an intrical part of economic development is relationships.

    “Being the director of the county’s economic development efforts causes me to talk a lot and make noise,” he jokingly reports. “What I do is put people together,” pointing to the YCEDD board and others as the most important part of the equation.

    With that in mind, Tyler said his board is committed to making county-wide progress.

    “We understand if we can help one part of the county it is going to help the entire county,” the director stresses.

The County’s Current

Business Infrastructure

    • BorgWarner has been recognized by the North Mississippi Industrial Development Association (NMIDA) as an outstanding manufacturer in north Mississippi, Tyler said, while listing some of the county’s obvious job-related assets.

    • The chicken processing plant is producing;

    • Windors Foods should begin operations in late fall, and is expected to begin production with approximately 250 employees;

    • Carothers Construction is a long-standing nationally-recognized company;

    • Mechanics Bank is a large employer in the county;

    • Avery Outdoors in Coffeeville is a succesful company;

    • The North Mississippi Fish Hatchery’s visitor center will open by summer;

    • The Lindley complex, located at I-55 and Hwy. 32 in Oakland is an up-and-coming business sector in what could become the county’s fastest growth area along the I-55 corridor; and

    • Yalobusha County’s schools, hospital, service and retail businesses  and agriculture are all significant employers.

The Future

    “We are getting some leads from Tennessee Valley Authority,” Tyler added after attending a three-day economic development forum in Nashville.

    “Their officials are putting us in touch with companies interested in expanding,” Tyler said.

    Also Tyler, who has strong ties with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP), said design work is underway for several billboards that will advertise the new visitor’s center at the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery and other surrounding attractions. The hatchery and visitor’s center is operated by MDWFP.

    Additionally, Tyler said he has met with Oakland developer Larry Lindley, in an attempt to design an advertising piece aimed at promoting the western portion of the county.

    The YCEDD welcomes input from the public. To comment, write Tyler at P.O. Box 642, Water Valley. He can also be reached on his cell phone (662) 473-8899 or by e-mail at bob.tyler@watervalley.us.

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