Joe McCraney is the Lauderdale County Administrator. He is from Meridian and graduated from Meridian High School. McCraney is the former Rankin County administrator. And for the past 12 years he worked in planning and developing in north, central Mississippi. As the Lauderdale County Administrator, he says there are certain elements county officials must always consider.
"You've got to have your resources in place in order to do anything. If an industry comes and you don't have your resources and your cash position in a good spot, you can miss an opportunity and it can go somewhere else. So, we've got to look for a balance. Everything sort of meshes together Your economic development, your roads, The administrative end of it, public safety, It's all one big circle that if you have a piece missing, you get off course," describes McCraney.
McCraney has gained extensive knowledge about city and county government through his career. Over the years he has found a common thread, but county government does differ from other types of governments.
"County government is a little different being that we don't have any sales tax that we operate off of. Half of our budget comes from ad valorem taxes. The rest of it comes from fees, and fines,and state and federal grants and things of that nature."
Another man who knows a thing or two about county government is Joe Norwood. He is the District 4 Supervisor of Lauderdale County. Norwood says as a county leader, finding industry to come to the area is very tough during this economic slump.
"But you can't stop. We continue to go out, searching for industries, looking for them. And just because you don't have a saved finances and money in place to do those things, doesn't mean we shouldn't still make plans and position ourselves so that when the economy does come back we will be in a position to move forward. Just like Mr. McCraney said, you've got to have your finances in order," says Norwood.
Many would consider now a good time for getting industry if government acted accordingly and was fully prepared. Norwood says he agrees.
"Lauderdale County was the first county ready in the state of Mississippi when the stimulus money came down because we were what you call stimulus ready.. So you need to continue to look for projects like that on the table and some point funding will come."