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Delphi moves ahead with plant upgrade

THE DAILY LEADER / RHONDA DUNAWAY / Lynette White (from left), a grant writer/planner with Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District Inc. in Natchez, speaks to the Board of Supervisors, including District 3 Supervisor Nolan Williamson and District 1 Supervisor the Rev. Jerry Wilson, on Monday.

THE DAILY LEADER / RHONDA DUNAWAY / Lynette White (from left), a grant writer/planner with Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District Inc. in Natchez, speaks to the Board of Supervisors, including District 3 Supervisor Nolan Williamson and District 1 Supervisor the Rev. Jerry Wilson, on Monday.

Delphi Automotive representatives met with the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors Monday to witness the approval of final permits for a $15 million investment by the company in its Lincoln County plant in upgrades and improvements. The company representatives also were on hand to answer any questions supervisors might have.

Delphi officials announced the investment in August. The project will include the purchase of new equipment and improvements at the plant with the aim of making new versions of the circuit boards the plant manufactures.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Garrick Combs said Monday he was grateful that Delphi had the confidence to invest in Lincoln County.

“These guys could have spent their corporate dollars at any of their other plants,” Combs told the supervisors, “but they are spending their money here.” The Delphi executives said they were thankful to local officials for their ongoing cooperation and assistance in the project.

The supervisors approved the permits for Delphi and then, in another matter, heard a presentation on how the county can acquire funds for infrastructure projects.

Lynette Smith, a grant writer/planner for Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District, took the podium and said she is proposing to help the county apply for special grants that will fund infrastructure, construction and improvements. The CDBG funding is available to municipalities to fund projects with the intention of addressing community development needs.

Smith said that the maximum a government entity can receive is $200,000. Smith said this grants could be used for infrastructure, city repairs, renovations to old buildings that could be used for new purposes and anything that would benefit the public and possibly bring jobs to the area.

Smith talked about a grant program available through Wildlife Fisheries and Parks that is geared toward encouraging outdoor activities. These grants will be worth $12,500. She listed among several types of projects, recreation parks, garden parks, sports field construction, playground, fishing and hunting.

In other business, Ryan Holmes with Dungan Engineering said he was waiting for federal money that would become available this summer when bills making it out of legislation will be signed into law July 1. Senate Bill 2001, Holmes said the bill appropriates money to the State Aid Road Construction Fund.

“The net result is very positive,” Holmes said. “Basically, we will fund our State Aid Road Construction fund. Three funds are tied up with this [legislation]. This is attached to our general fund, capital expense fund and the road construction fund.”

Holmes explained that once the working cash fund reached its limit and the capital expense fund reached its limit, the remaining money would go to the state aid road construction fund – up to $37 million.

In other business supervisors:

• Approved the purchase of a new boiler for the government building. The cost of $64,439 includes the new unit, parts and labor. The last boiler lasted 30 years.

• Supervisors received a petition to make Rita Trail a public road and agreed to take the next step, which is for two supervisors to inspect the road before the board makes final approval. Then they discussed Poplar Ridge Road, for which a petition was already received, and two supervisors have inspected it and say it is ready to be approved.

• Accepted funds from a TIF Bond from Home Depot. These funds total $27,000 and are used by the city to maintain the infrastructure surrounding the Home Depot, 101 Stribling Rd.

• Approved the purchase of flooring materials for the Ability Works rehabilitation center. Sheriff Steve Rushing will have a work crew install the new flooring.

• Agreed to pay for travel expenses for professional development for justice court clerk on May 7-9.