By CARL SMITH
The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors will renew discussions on a countywide comprehensive plan and could also make an appointment to a four-person board representing local interests in a new tri-county economic development group at its 5:30 p.m. meeting today at the county courthouse.
Discussions on the comprehensive plan renew today following an October presentation by Mike Slaughter, of the Oxford-based planning firm Slaughter and Associates. In 2009, the board reached a $275,000 agreement with the Golden Triangle Planning and Development to develop such a plan, but GTPDD Executive Director Rudy Johnson told supervisors in May that software issues involving recent geographic information system (GIS) mapping delayed the initiative.
Last year, GTPDD GIS workers concluded countywide survey which inventoried every Oktibbeha County road, structure and landmark in preparation for developing a new 911 addressing system. Information taken from that survey was to be used toward developing a comprehensive plan.
In May, Johnson told the board once proper software is in place, planners from the Central Mississippi Development District would travel to the county and begin developing the initial comprehensive plan.
Once adopted, a comprehensive plan could provide supervisors with a detailed direction about how to manage development as Oktibbeha County continues to experience growth. Land-use and permit-requiring provisions could be developed depending on how extensive and detailed representatives desire the new document.
Slaughter told the board in October his agency could handle developing such a plan within a year at a cost of $35,000. The board took Slaughter’s presentation under advisement, and supervisors said they would speak to Johnson before taking any action.
Board President Orlando Trainer said he wishes to encourage the board to take action on Slaughter’s proposal so the county can push ahead with its pending comprehensive plan. A future plan, he said, does not have to go as far as setting severe land-use limits and will be dictated by what public input the county receives during the development process.
“We need to take action on this because questions about this whole thing have been lingering since discussion first started in 2007,” Trainer said. “We need a plan of action on everything we do in the county. I think the process will give us the opportunity to have public input and to shape a clear road map for Oktibbeha County.”
In other business, supervisors could make an appointment to the four-person board which will represent Oktibbeha County’s interests with the Golden Triangle LINK development agency. Although Trainer said he has asked each board member to suggest a nominee today, he would not reveal his nominee’s identity because he had yet to contact that person Friday.
Once the entire four-person county board is set, two of those members will serve on the tri-county group’s executive advisory board. Positions are not compensated by the county.
“It’s vital to have the right person sit on this board and represent Oktibbeha County, and they’ve also got to understand the importance of their service,” Trainer said. “We want to select a person who has ideas to help Oktibbeha County and who will help make good decisions.”