Carroll County will see a new innovative business move into the county -- a business that is expected to bring in 350 temporary jobs and three to four permanent jobs. What’s more, local residents will directly benefit from the development of this business.
Supervisor Jim Neill said Cooperative Energy, the co-op that owns Delta Electric, which is based out of Hattiesburg, is planning to build a 100 mega-watt solar farm at the base of Valley Hill in Carroll County.
“It’s going to be the largest solar farm in the state and one of the largest in the country,” Neill said.
He said the solar farm is an expansion of Cooperative Energy’s “solar portfolio” and the energy powered from the solar farm will be used by Cooperative Energy.
According to a press release, Cooperative Energy and Renewable Energy Solutions (RES) have entered into a power purchase agreement where RES will design, develop, install and operate the site, and Cooperative Energy will purchase all the energy for its customers generated at the 652-acre solar farm.
The plant is expected to be operational by 2022. Once it’s completed, the farm will house approximately 363,000 panels.
“It’s expected to power 20,000 homes in Carroll County,” Neill said.
Cooperative Energy would be the only customer for the solar farm, Neill said. It makes and distributes electricity for 11 cooperatives in southern and western Mississippi.
Neill said RES declined to say how much the solar farm would cost to construct, however, a farm about half that size in southern Mississippi built several years ago cost approximately $100 million to build.
“Sugar, could there be an exemption for a company like that?” Neill asked Chancery Clerk Sugar Mullins.
“There may be some from the state, but I’m not sure about another exemptions,” Board attorney Kevin Horan said.
“For what they may bring into the county, they may not need an exemption,” Supervisor Dill Tucker said.
Neill said it’s unknown how much in taxes, the farm will bring in to the county. He said it’ll take a year for the plant to be built and the construction of the plant will bring in a workforce of 350. After work is complete, Neill said there will be three to four permanent jobs for the county with a strong emphasis on hiring a qualified local work force.
And in more good news, Neill said Atmos Gas decided to settle with the county for the damages caused on McCarley Road.
Neill said back in August, Atmos tied 18-30 gas lines off, because they had to dig holes in order to get to the lines. He said Atmos agreed it was theirs to fix, as long as the board released them of all liability.
“Now, that doesn’t mean if a gas line breaks that they’re not responsible,” he said.
“If that happens, then they have to fix it,” Supervisor Claude Fluker said.
He said when the board approved the resolution drafted by Horan, then they could move forward. Neill said the road will be repaired beginning at County Road 282 going toward Highway 17.
The board also:
• Approved travel for Durwood Stanton and Monica Murphy in September and Johnny Marlow and Barbara Matthews in October.
• Heard from Rosalind Jordan, candidate for the 6th District Chancery Judge seat.
• Approved zeroing out Charron Boyd’s garbage bill. Fluker said Boyd was incarcerated for a burglary in Lowndes County and did not stay in Carroll County. He said Boyd has never stayed in Carroll County but was somehow able to obtain a Carroll County tag.
• Approved to merge the old and new garbage bills of Doris Dardas and to have Dardas set up a payment plan to pay a minimum amount until the old bill was paid off and to continue to pay her new bill.
• Denied Katie Thomas’ request to set up a payment plan to pay her outstanding water bill, who said she hasn’t lived in Carroll County for four years but still receives a garbage bill. However, Supervisors told Thomas because her son lives in the trailer she once lived in and has for three years, someone has occupied the home and therefore must pay the bill.
“This would be sticking out neck out a little too far and we can have it chopped off,” Fluker said.
Horan said if they allowed Thomas to do so, they would take away their own lien power and
anyone would be able to set up a payment plan to pay their water bill.
• Approved a $1,500 service agreement with CodeRED.
• Approved a contract with Fortenberry and Ballard CPA for the 2018-2019 Audit in the amount of $14,400.
• Heard for Kara McKay of Carrollton Family Clinic about a larger hospital possibly taking over the lease for the clinic.
• The board also discussed with attorney and legislator Horan when they will begin to reap the benefits of the new bills passed by the legislator. Horan said he’ll have more information on when the money should be released.