WINONA – Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce/Winona Main Street Director Sue Stidham gave activity reports to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors last week, giving supervisors a snapshot of the community’s economic development activities.
According to Stidham, over the last year, her office has assisted in creating an environmental analysis of the Crossroads Industrial Park in Winona, an analysis usually left to potential developers to create, as an added benefit to potential developers; assisted in creating a SWOT Analysis (strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats) with local leaders to assist in strengthening Winona as a contender in economic development; recruited a small distribution center now located in the Crossroads Industrial Park; worked with 51/55 Water Association in securing a grant to replace water lines; worked with the county’s three municipal boards and the county board in special projects; and worked with local utilities, grant funders, and state agencies in securing funding or resources available to promote, improve, and market Montgomery County as an ideal locale for economic development.
Stidham said at present she is working seven projects recently submitted for grand funding as well as three job-creating projects. In addition, she said is working to promote the ACT Work Ready Program, which many industries rely on for pinpointing employment candidates; and is working closely with Winona Mayor Jerry Flowers and the management of Fred’s Super Dollar and Dollar General to fill the product vacancy left when Walmart closed its doors in January.
Stidham asked if the county could fund the cost of having signs made for the Crossroads Industrial Park, and the board voted to do so – paid out of the economic development fund.
When asked about erecting billboards promoting the Crossroads Industrial Park, Stidham said the Mississippi Department of Transportation will not allow billboards in anything not zoned commercial. County Attorney Alan D. Lancaster said he would look into what had to be done for the county put up additional billboards in Montgomery County.
In other county business:
• Stidham asked the board to support the organization of Montgomery County as an ACT Work Ready Community, a program that focuses on building a national system of work readiness. The program focuses on three essential skills – applied math, workplace documents, and graphic literacy.
• The board voted to hire James Barry Carpenter to paint three offices and the lobby area of the Mississippi Department of Health, located on Alberta Street in Winona at a cost of $1,500 for labor. The county will provide all materials for the job.
• Chancery Court Clerk Ryan Wood asked the board to look over changes made to the county’s employee handbook.
• The board voted to install a security lock on the east entrance into the Montgomery County Justice Courtroom at the request of Judge Keith Stokes Roberts to better secure the courtroom.
• The board voted to purchase a new computer for Judge Roberts, at a cost of $1,900.
• The board voted to issue a laptop to the Montgomery County Election Commission to assist commissioners in their work. The former Mississippi Forestry Office has been set up for the commission’s use during work days at the courthouse.
• Circuit Court Clerk Lanelle Martin reported to the board that she has been told to proceed with creating the county’s two school board districts in preparation for November’s board member election for two seats on the Winona Montgomery County Consolidated School Board as planned. An injunction filed by the Montgomery County School District back in November to stop the consolidation has not yet been ruled upon.
The board approved outsourcing printing and mailing new voter registration cards at a cost of $7,050, a lower cost than doing the job in-house.
Martin said that if the district’s lawsuit is successful, the county will have to redistrict and assess the same expense again.