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Johnson: Slaughter should do county planning

November 20, 2012

Rudy Johnson, Golden Triangle Planning and Development District’s executive director, gave his blessing Monday for Oxford-based urban planning firm Slaughter & Associates to handle developing a comprehensive plan for Oktibbeha County.

Supervisors could approve the agreement at their first meeting in December.

Previously, Johnson said planners from Central Mississippi Planning and Development District would come to Oktibbeha County and handle developing a comprehensive plan, but following a meeting with Mike Slaughter, he said he believes the planner’s firm can handle the task quickly and in an unbiased way. Oktibbeha County has the ability to contract the firm, Johnson said, because agreements with CMPDD were never inked.

“I think it would be in the best interest to let Slaughter do it. I don’t want to appear biased with this process,” Johnson said during the board’s Monday meeting.

In 2009, the county contracted GTPDD to develop a new county 911 addressing system and use the information collected toward developing a comprehensive plan. Geographic information system (GIS) workers concluded a countywide survey which inventoried every Oktibbeha County road, structure and landmark in preparation for the system last year, and the county implemented the new addressing system.

“Y’all have paid for a lot of work so far. Just don’t make sure you don’t pay for that again,” Johnson said. “We can help (Slaughter) with anything he needs.”

Board Attorney Jack Brown said the contract between the county and the GTPDD can be amended as long as both parties reach a mutual agreement.

“If you want to go with Mike, you’ve got my blessing,” he added. “We’ve made it clear in our meeting that we would work together in this plan.”
The board took Johnson’s comments under advisement, and Board President Orlando Trainer said the supervisors could take action on the matter in their Dec. 3 meeting.

“I suggest we … invite Mr. Slaughter back for a follow-up presentation. If it’s in the board’s interest to move forward then, we can take up action,” Trainer said. “That will give (supervisors) time to think about it.”

In other business, the board voted 4-1 to appoint Zelma Talley to a four-person board charged with representing Oktibbeha County interests in a new tri-county economic development agency. District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams was the lone dissenting vote, and District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery cast his vote over the phone while on vacation.

District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard said Talley, a retiree with business experience, will make a great representative and will utilize her past experiences for the betterment of the county.

“She has over 20 years of business experience, is good with numbers and will bring a common-sense approach to economic development,” Howard said.

A phone call to Talley went unreturned as of press time.

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