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City Council discusses funding economic development office in Pearl River County

Pearl River County’s newly named Director of Economic Development, Blaine LaFontaine, officially introduced himself to the Picayune City Council. LaFontaine started his role on January 5th of this year and he gave those present at the meeting an update on what he is focused on for Pearl River County as well as the cities of Picayune and Poplarville as a whole.

LaFontaine said he is excited about the potential for growth for Pearl River County. He said this will involve the collaboration of many people and entities in the county. Those partnerships will be critical to make Picayune and Pearl River County a player in the regional economy.

LaFontaine said the key is asset development and organizing the information in order to have it ready for site ready certifications. He said Pearl River County one of the most capable counties to attract and retain small to medium companies with 10-50 employees.

Mayor Ed Pinero presents a "key to the city" to Blaine LaFontaine

He said Pearl River County is strategically located with the access to rails (Norfolk Southern), proximity to multiple interstate highways, and Stennis Space Center.

With the many opportunities for project funding with Coastal Restoration funding with BP money in the years ahead, he said Pearl River County as a whole must be ready to present itself as the right place for aerospace development related projects, polymers, and inventory.

At the conclusion of LaFontaine’s presentation, councilman Wayne Gouguet made a motion for the city to amend the agenda and he put forth a motion for the city to provide $4,000 per month through the 2021 budget year for the city toward funding economic development and LaFontaine’s office.

Gouguet said the council has approximately $300,000 to $400,000 allocated in the budget for economic development.

Councilman Larry Breland said he would rather wait for City Clerk Amber Hinton, who was not at the meeting, to give details where the funding would come from and how it will impact the city’s budget. Gouguet said he would rescind his motion pending that information from Ms. Hinton.

Mayor Ed Pinero told those gathered he is in favor of funding the motion and is confident the council will approve the funding at the next meeting of the council.

For information on Blaine LaFontaine's experience and background (Click Here)



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