Hitt: "Cooper Not Top Priority"

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Craig Hitt, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, brought up the subject of the Cooper Development at Monday's meeting of the Council of Governments.

"Contrary to some of the things, some rumors that are floating around, the Board of Supervisors do not feel like the Cooper Development is an unimportant issue for the area," said Hitt.

However, he said the most important issue is the new industrial park.

"From the county's standpoint the county has already invested the taxpayers' money in the industrial park and that is an issue that has been ongoing for several months long before the Cooper Development came about as far as we know and that is the top priority at this point," said Hitt.

He said the board lacks knowledge about the Cooper project.

"To my knowledge the Cooper Development has not been shown to the Board of Supervisors," Hitt said. "There has been no one from Cooper or from the city who has come and said this is the layout, this is what there will be. We've learned about it through the media."

But Mayor John Robert Smith disputes the statement. The mayor pointed out that two of the supervisors were taken to the Cooper Development at Tellico Dam, Tennessee to see for themselves and there have been meetings between city officials and several supervisors to impart information.

Ken Storms, the city's CAO stressed the financial benefits this morning in the presence of supervisors Hank Florey and Hitt.

"Nine to 10 years into the project we're looking at over a million dollars a year just coming into the county school system and the county government, $485,000 coming in to the county school district," said Storms.

Hitt was asked if the board realized the importance of the Cooper project.

"Sure we do. It's very important to all the citizens of Lauderdale County," said Hitt.