BY JUSTIN MINYARD
Another step has been made in the ongoing effort on behalf of West Point and Clay County to share a seat on the Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTRA) Board of Directors.
Mike Hainsey, GTRA executive director, said all five entities on the board — West Point, Starkville, Columbus, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties — are required to adopt a resolution of intention to approve the split chair. Oktibbeha, Hainsey said, adopted its resolution of intention Monday. Lowndes County adopted its resolution of intention Friday.
Now, according to Hainsey, both Oktibbeha and Lowndes counties must advertise in local media outlets over the course of the next 14 days their intention to approve the shared seat, so as to garner any public commentary or opposition to the endeavor. March 3, Hainsey said, is the date of final approval for the shared seat.
“This (process) has been going on for three years now,” Hainsey said. “It’s something that Clay County and West Point have worked out first to include things like having a state law amended to allow them to share the position.”
According to West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson, the goal to acquire a shared seat hit a hiatus after successfully acquiring the state legislature’s amendment during the 2012 legislative session. However, that didn’t stop the wheels from rolling.
“Clay County has never been part of the airport,” Robinson said. “There was so much activity — and there’s still activity — and it’s going on as far as industrial development at the airport. Of course, with our regional approach to our industry ... we (Clay County and West Point) will have an opportunity to participate here.”
Robinson said the shared seat would show that Clay County has an official stake in future industrial development and recruitment with the airport, where prior to this movement it had none.
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