Lauderdale County, Miss. It's a new year, and there are new leaders for the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors. During the group's first meeting for 2014, the board's two newest members were unanimously chosen to serve as president and vice-president. Josh Todd, who represents District 3, and Kyle Rutledge from District 5 were elected to office almost two years ago. Both have high hopes for the new year.
At Monday's meeting Lauderdale County supervisors also awarded bids for at least five Certainteed Projects. In June that global company is set to reopen its plant in Meridian; this is expected to create more than 120 new jobs.
For the new year, all five supervisors say job creation is a one of, if not their top, priority.
"We need to focus more on economic development, not just on landing the 'big fish', as you say with 100 jobs or so," says Supervisor Rutledge. "We're blessed to get Certainteed to come back, but even those that have ten or twenty jobs, those are jobs that add up, and we need to work toward that also."
Both Supervisors Rutledge and Todd, are vowing to pursue a recommendation from a citizen to try and get a training school for state troopers located at the training facility in Meridian.
"We already have this facility established. We have people coming from all over, not only from Mississippi, but from surrounding states," says Supervisor Todd. "So, I believe that we have the land; we have the resources to enlarge it, or whatever they need to do."
"I think that we have the resources to do it," says Rutledge. "We just need the help, and okay from the legislators in Jackson, the governor."
Governor Phil Bryant's proposal is to establish a multi-million dollar training school for state troopers. The legislative session for the new year starts Tuesday at noon. Both Supervisors Todd and Rutledge say they will be at the capitol when the session opens. While there, both say they will speak with legislators about possibly locating the proposed trooper school in Meridian.
Meanwhile, some other action that was taken during the supervisors' meeting Monday involved appointments. The board approved Scott Spears as interim emergency management director, and reappointed Joe McCraney as County Administrator, Rick Barry as County Attorney, and Harris Wilder as County Road Manager.