Board approves plan for potential business

Published 5:00 am Friday, July 21, 2006

The Monticello Board of Alderman approved a plan to bolstersupport for a potential industry looking at locating in the townduring a meeting Thursday.

Mayor David Nichols said he could not reveal much about thepotential industry other than to describe it as a small retailchain.

“They’re looking at several different sites in Monticello,” hesaid.

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The board’s action Thursday cleared the way to offer TaxIncrement Financing to help attract the business.

TIF plans provide funding for public infrastructure costs, suchas roads, sewer, water and utilities, and are repaid through theincremental value of new development at no additional cost to thetaxpayer.

TIF plans are used frequently to attract industries, Nicholssaid.

The TIF funding should not affect the town’s budget, which wasanother subject under discussion during the meeting. The boardannounced it could be seeking up to a three-mill increase in localtaxes.

The board must announce its intentions by August, but has untilSeptember to approve a final budget, Nichols said.

“We’re not saying we’re going to need three mills, but we areleaving ourselves the option of going up to three mills if it’sneeded,” Nichols said.

Fuel and insurance premium increases are the biggest reasons forthe potential increase, he said.

“We have no control over that. None,” Nichols said. “We may beable to shift some funds around so that we won’t need the threemills, but we have to leave that option open.”

In other matters, the board agreed to pay the countyapproximately $29,000 to cover its costs for a repaving project onNorth Greene Street and a portion of Jefferson Street from MainStreet to F.E. Sellers Highway.

District One Supervisor Steve Garrett told aldermen that countycrews will also reseal South Greene Street, Robert Charles Driveand Stormo Avenue.

The project is expected to begin shortly. The mayor said thecounty’s efforts in the project were appreciated.

“We’re paying him a lot less than if we had to contract it out,”Nichols said.

In a separate road-related matter, aldermen are seeking aTransportation Enhancement Grant through the Mississippi Departmentof Transportation for signage and landscaping at two areas on theHighway 84 Bypass near the intersection of Old Highway 27.

“We’re getting the cost estimates now,” Nichols said. “Once wehave the cost, we’ll be able to apply for that grant.”

The board also approved a request by Crimestoppers to raise thedonation from a $1 addition on citations issued by the policedepartment to $2.

The increase will have no effect on taxpayers, Nichols said,because the Crimestoppers donation is added onto the citation feeat time of payment.

“We’ve already benefited from Crimestoppers here, so it’s worthmaking the criminal pay to catch the criminal,” he said.

Crimestoppers was instrumental in aiding law enforcementauthorities in making an arrest on a Lawrence County man accused ofcar jacking and other charges, Nichols said. Based on an anonymoustip to the organization, the man was apprehended inHattiesburg.