Officials bring possibility of aid from D.C.

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 14, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; A wealth of federal tax incentives are available to recruit new industries, including possible buyers for International Paper’s Natchez mill.

Also, grants and loans could be available through the U.S. Economic Development Administration to build infrastructure to attract industries and to find which industries best fit Adams County’s existing properties.

That’s according to Economic Development Authority Executive Director Michael Ferdinand who, along with county officials, traveled to Washington earlier this week to meet with the area’s congressional delegation.

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In meetings held Tuesday and Wednesday, Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, both R-Mississippi, and Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Third District, pledged their help in locating such funds.

&uot;They’ve offered us any and all support,&uot; Ferdinand said.

Representatives of IP and its unions, local government, the Chamber of Commerce and higher education &045; along with aides to Lott, Cochran and Pickering &045; also met Friday in Natchez.

There, they were briefed on the Washington trip and federal funds that could be available and worked on a strategic plan to market IP’s Natchez mill, Ferdinand said.

At the meeting, &uot;we outlined the tools we have at our disposal,&uot; he said.

&uot;I can’t comment on any potential clients that are exploring (buying the mill property),&uot; Ferdinand said.

&uot;I can say that we will assist them in pursuit of finding a potential candidate for the site. And I understand that there have been some folks looking at it (the mill).&uot;

Ferdinand will make a presentation on the trip at Tuesday’s meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, said board President Lynwood Easterling, who also traveled to Washington.

Others who made the trip included supervisors Vice President Darryl Grennell, Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne and County Attorney Marion Smith.