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Windsor Plant Expansion In Question

By David Howell

COFFEEVILLE – Windsor Foods in Oakland will remain one of the county’s largest employers after a Japanese company purchased Windsor Quality Holdings LP.
    Ajinomoto  Co. Inc., a worldwide leader in high-quality seasonings and foods headquartered in Tokyo, purchased Windsor’s seven production facilities and three distribution centers including the Yalobusha County facility in November.
    “We know we are going to keep our plant. We have 350 workers there and we think they will be hiring some more,” Bob Tyler reported during the “first Monday” supervisor meeting in Coffeeville on Jan. 5. Tyler serves as director of the county’s economic and tourism district.
    However plans for a long-anticipated, major expansion at the Oakland plant has changed with the acquisition. Instead all of the current Windsor locations will compete for the expansion, pitting the Oakland facility against other sites.
    “We know that for a long time Windsor Foods was thinking about an expansion for our plant in Oakland. Now the owners have decided to put that expansion out on a competitive basis to all Windsor plants,” Tyler explained.
    Tyler said the county will receive a date from the company to make the presentation touting the location to company officials for the expansion. He also reported the Governor’s office and Mississippi Development Authority will help with the presentation to compete for the new jobs.
     Tyler’s economic development update included information about BorgWarner’s $43 million expansion in Water Valley that will bring 158 new jobs to the plant. The expansion was announced during a visit from Governor Phil Bryant last July and will start in early 2015, according to Tyler.
    Tyler also reported negotiations with the Blauer company for the lease or possible sale of the county-owned building in Coffeeville are ongoing.
    Other business conducted at the Jan. 5 meeting included:
    • Hired Crow Martin  LLC to serve as the county’s board attorney in 2015 in a unanimous vote. Water Valley attorney John Crow has served as the board’s legal counsel over three decades.
    • Mechanics Bank was selected as the county’s depository, after bidding a .38 percent interest rate for banking the county’s funds in 2015. The interest rate was down from a half-percent during the previous two years. The county will continue to use Renasant Bank to bank money from departments operating in the Coffeeville Courthouse. Renasant operates the sole bank in Coffeeville and is used for Coffeeville deposits from the tax collector’s office. The money is emptied into the interest bearing Mechanics Bank accounts periodically.
    • Amended the homestead exemption list for Yalobusha residents who turned 65 last year and did not file a new homestead exemption. The list included Joe Black, Alton L. Bloodworth and Bessie Calder. A list of county residents who received disability status and did not file an updated homestead exemption was also amended. Added were Jessie L. Bowens, Barry Lee Doubleday, Dolvis B. Horne, Travis Goad, Clarence Edward Godwin, Richard Herman Jones and Joan Dickey Stewart.

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