Mayor John Robert Smith was late to his news conference Wednesday morning because of meeting with congressman Chip Pickering, county supervisor Hank Florey and officials of the EMBDC. But when he arrived he brought with him some very good economic news.
"Just before I left, the congressman committed that whether we get the EDA grant or whether we didn't, we will get the million and a half to match the city's money to provide water and sewer to the industrial park," said Smith. "That the delegation of Mississippi, it was committing to provide the additional money whether through a direct appropriation or through the EDA grant."
Along with the commitment came a time frame. The money should be available in January with bids to be taken probably in early to late spring.
"That should remove from the table the concern about water and sewer to the industrial park," Smith said.
The mayor also explained the agreement offered to the county in connection with funding the new Highway 45 interchange for the Cooper development.
"The city has offered to the county use of our short term line of credit which we have," said the mayor. "The deal that is worked with the Mississippi Department of Transportation will be a short term payback of some five years and we would expect, we would be happy to extend our line of credit for the county's use. In effect, it would be our line of credit but they would pay us back."
MDOT will pay the city back 80 percent of the cost of the interchange over the five years. The county would be asked to pay the interest on the funding the city will provide.