President of the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors, Marvell Howard, said he was excited about the possibilities of creating “road map” for growth.
“We want to move Oktibbeha County to the top county in the state,” Howard said. “I am excited about the possibilities this organization can do to help us make positive steps to the future.”
Howard invited Mississippi State University professor Dr. Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, director of the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, and associates, to pay the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors and initial visit to discuss what they hope to help the county accomplish.
Howard said the board makes many decisions each month, and he hopes this process with help take some of the guesswork out of some of those issues and create a “clear direction, or a road map to where we want Oktibbeha County to go.”
“A road map would be a tremendous tool for our county,” Howard said.
Parisi introduce himself to the board and, along with tow associates, described the services of NSPARC and the work they have done for the state of Mississippi, as well as national and international clients.
Parisi said NSPARC will work with Oktibbeha County free of charge, as part of Mississippi State University’s policy for community service.
As the initial part of the process of creating a strategic plan, Parisi said NSPARC will listen to the board’s thoughts of the direction Oktibbeha County for the future and put those thoughts into documentation.
“The best ideas will come from you,” Parisi said. “With the ideas presented, we will help create strategies and benchmarks to help you get to where you want to go.”
Parisi said his organization serves as a “think tank” for national and international businesses and they are excited about using the strategies they have created for people around the world, within their own community.
NSPARC will collect ideas; put together a proposal to give the board a chance to see what the project will look like. They will meet to see if the program is feasible and help the board visualize a plan.
Grant writing is another element to the services they will offer the county.
“This will not happen overnight,” Parisi said. “But this will help in the development of long- and short-term goals.”
Howard said one of the things he would like to see happen as part of the plan is the creation of a good website for the county, to help with marketing the community.
District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer asked about the Golden Triangle District Development Center’s creation of a comprehensive plan and if NSPARC’s plan will be duplicating services.
Parisi said NSPARC would create a plan that the Board of Supervisors wanted to see happen for Oktibbeha County, but would also reach out to other community partnership to avoid duplication.
“These are state-of-the-art resources they are making available to us for free,” Howard said. “NSPARC will definitely help Oktibbeha County move forward in the way it needs to move.”
District 5 Supervisor John L Young, Sr. said he feels this project will help the board work well together.
“We will be on the same page,” Young said.
In other business:
• The pastor of St. Matthews Church asked about the possibility of paving the road to the church.
• A citizen made a request about fixing the roads in the Chapel Hill/Harris Road area.
• Another citizen asked the Board of Supervisors to take immediate action to protect citizens from vicious animals in the county.
• The County Road Manager reported the department was working to fill potholes and maintain the roads during the winter weather. He said the department was pretty much at a standstill waiting on better weather.
• Clyde Pritchard of Pritchard Engineering discussed a drainage restoration project grant that would involve removing debris from ditches. The project will impact the Reed Road and Valley View areas of District 3; 16th Section Road and Miss. Highway 182 in District 2; and alleviate some of the drainage issues in the Sunset Subdivision.
Prichard said other issues in the Sunset Subdivision will require additional study and surveying. He said it was a unique situation.
• Trainer discussed financing options for additional roadwork throughout the county. His proposal offered loan options that would not require increasing millage rates, or require any special legislation.
• Young said he was reviewing animal control ordinances adopted in Hinds County and other counties in Mississippi in order to draft an ordinance that the county would be able to propose to the community.
• The board also passed a resolution to find office space to bring the Drug Court to Oktibbeha County. Several options were discussed, but no location was finalized.
• The next meeting of the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors will be at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Oktibbeha County Courthouse.