Jackson Co. supervisor outlines 2012 economic development projects


Jackson County's financial shape, struggles and economic development projects for 2012 were all outlined Wednesday during the annual state of the county address. 
Supervisor John McKay spoke for about an hour to the Pascagoula Rotary Club at the Grand Magnolia Ballroom in Pascagoula. He mentioned everything from the accomplishments of 2011 to the challenges of 2012. He also made promises to help make the county bigger and better than ever before.

"Jackson County is very viable; our economic conditions are good," Supervisor John McKay said. 

For many, that's rare to hear in these uncertain financial times. But Supervisor McKay said the county has been working hard to pay down debt and not increase taxes.  

"We have real tight control on our budget to make sure we don't overspend and we keep things in order." 

He told the crowd a lot of money being spent is to improve roads and safety. 

"We are going to be paving 42 miles of road this year, replacing many bridges within Jackson County. Of course, we just moved into our Jackson County Services Complex, we have three hurricane shelters in the process of going up." 

Supervisor said the focus now is to offer more services and build more facilities without tax hikes.

"We do have the jail facility looming out there that will cost $33 to 35 million. Once we use up that borrowing for that $33 to 35 million, if there is something else down the road we have to borrow it for, it could cause a tax increase down the road a year or two from now," McKay said. "We hope that is not the case." 

McKay said as long as economic development continues to improve and an infrastructure increase, the county will remain on track for success.

"The LNG project was just completed last year and Chevron has a $2 billion expansion going on right now," McKay said.  "We have the maritime trades center that is named the Haley Reeves Barbour Trades Center, a $15 million project.  Yes, that [the center] will help train future craftsmen that help build ships and things like that and it will also help create jobs in Jackson County."

McKay also said the county is spending more than $300,000 for dredging this year. And the county's animal shelter received $50,000 from the family of a deceased resident to make improvements.

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