County may fall in the GAP incentive program

Published 12:31 am Tuesday, May 22, 2012

NATCHEZ — Adams County is poor, but for once that might work out for the best.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ asked the Adams County Board of Supervisors Monday to pass a resolution applying for the Mississippi Development Authority’s Growth and Prosperity Program.

The GAP program allows areas that have a significant high unemployment or a poverty level above 30 percent to abate state franchise and sales taxes for GAP eligible companies. Adams County has a poverty rate of 30.1 percent.

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“What this means is that we are eligible for the most aggressive tax incentive program that the state of Mississippi allows,” Russ said. “It puts us at a competitive advantage in competing with other areas of the state.”

If the county is GAP certified, any companies that qualify for the program will be eligible for the program for 10 years, even if the county no longer meets the criteria, Russ said.

“It is a significant piece of incentive that we will be able to offer, and I can tell you it can make a tremendous difference when we are competing against other non-GAP eligible areas and even other states in regard to that,” Russ said.

“I am not sure we are excited (about) how we got here, but we are excited to be able to offer it.”

During the meeting, the supervisors also voted to send an amended Development Infrastructure Program grant application for the economic development project related to Magnolia Frac Sand and Fores Frac Sand.

Magnolia and Fores announced in April a partnership that would mine and process sand to be used in the hydraulic fracking process in the oil and gas industry.

As part of the project, Adams County and the MDA announced an infrastructure improvement grant that would include an overlay of State Park Road.

That agreement had to be modified, however, once the initial engineering for the Magnolia and Fores site was completed, Russ said.

“(The engineering) pushed the plant out into the road,” he said.

The changed application instead calls for the curve in State Park Road at the plant site to be straightened out rather than overlaid.

Adams County’s portion of the grant will be in the form of a 10 percent match, Russ said, which will come to approximately $48,000.

That’s more than was projected in the original application. Russ said the increased costs can be funded from savings at the Elevance project site. The county had agreed to do engineering work for Elevance, and Russ said that project had approximately $50,000 in savings.

“From a project standpoint, (Magnolia) is chomping at the bit to get started,”

Russ said. “As soon as we get the application approved, they are going to start pushing dirt, and until that happens they can’t push any dirt. We are trying to move as expeditiously as possible here.”

The supervisors also:

-The supervisors voted to give $2,000 to Adams County Search and Rescue to help the group — which is contracted with the county — buy a new motor for its river boat.

“Approximately 18 months ago, at the onset of the high water, we were called to take a group of officials out to the bridge at 2 a.m., and the motor died,” said Everard Baker with ACSAR. “We now have a boat that we borrow, but it is not fit for the work we need.”

The group has raised approximately $6,200 for the new boat motor, and is approximately $2,000 short, Baker said.

The board voted to give the group the money pending approval from its attorney.

-The supervisors voted to name the new bridge still under construction on the Government Fleet Road extension project after County Engineer Jim Marlow.

President Darryl Grennell said Marlow has worked with the county and the city for many years, and deserves the recognition.

Marlow thanked the supervisors for the honor.