Developer disagrees with EDA funding cut

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2009

NATCHEZ — One local business developer is concerned about the decision by the Adams County Board of Supervisors to cut funding to the Natchez-Adams Economic Development Authority.

In an effort to convince the supervisors to reconsider their decision to cut funding to the EDA, local business developer Brady Millican has enlisted the power of the pen and has written to the supervisors.

“If they just drop funding that sends the wrong message to everyone,” Millican said.

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At a meeting earlier this month, supervisors S.E. “Spanky” Felter, Mike Lazarus and board president Henry Watts voted to suspend funding to the EDA for the rest of the budget year.

The supervisors cited a lack of economic development coming into the area as their reason for cutting the funds.

Millican said he’s worried that kind of reaction by the supervisors will have a far-reaching negative impact.

Millican’s currently managing the Riverside II warehouse, near the port, and working on projects that are slated to bring 50 to 200 jobs to the area.

One of the businesses deals with circuit board manufacturing and the other has to do with metal fabrication.

But since the EDA’s funding was slashed, Millican is concerned.

“The board of supervisors’ recent vote to discontinue funding to the EDA is detrimental to this project as well as ongoing and future projects at the EDA,” he said in his letter. “This is certainly short sighted and limits the ability of the county to capture more substantial and fundamental gains.”

Millican said he has had an opportunity to discuss the letter with Watts.

But numerous calls to Watts went unanswered Friday.

Millican said Watts told him the supervisors would essentially help him with making business contacts at the Mississippi Development Authority, which the EDA normally does.

Lazarus also said he’d be happy to assist Millican with MDA contacts, however, he said he was told by Watts not to contact Millican.

Current EDA Chairman Woody Allen said while Millican’s is the first letter he’s aware of, he has been getting several calls concerning the board’s cut.

“We just have to wait and sees where it goes on Monday,” Allen said.

That’s when the board has its next scheduled meeting and will discuss EDA funding.

And while Millican won’t be at that meeting — he’s got a request for the board.

“They need to re-fund the EDA,” he said.