Local officials discuss economy

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Among the three local governments represented at the Pike County Chamber of Commerce’s “Business at Breakfast” Tuesday morning, there was one common theme: the economy.

Some good and some bad, local mayors and the county administrator had several things relating to local economy to report at the Hampton Inn Tuesday.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said while there have been local layoffs and some businesses closed, there have also been expansions within the city.

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“We regret Goody’s was caught up in the closure, but we also have continued to see expansion in Troy,” Lunsford said.

Lunsford said the city does not own the property where Goody’s is now housed, but they are working aggressively to recruit a new retail store to the area.

And on a more positive note, Lunsford said the city is expected to hold a grand opening in February for the Operations and Training Center at the Troy Airport, and Sikorsy may be adding jobs with the 650-foot runway expansion expected to happen soon.

In Brundidge, Mayor Jimmy Ramage had similar news to report.

Ramage said some projects like the Transload America landfill project was put on hold in the economic recession, but he hopes it will be underway this year.

The project, which will build a CSX Railroad to transport waste under US 231, will bring some 40 new jobs to the town.

Along similar lines, Ramage said local industries like Southern Classics and Wal-Mart Distribution Center are still OK.

And the Pike County Administrator Harry Sanders said the commission has a similar budget outlook.

“The county is looking toward some possible difficult times,” Sanders said. “We have a conservative budget.”

With sales tax down, Sanders said the county will have to be cautious in how they use funding through the remainder of the year.

He announced a $5,000 contribution from Lockheed Martin to restripe a portion of County Road 7714.

Pike County Chamber of Commerce President Jenniffer Barner said the breakfast, which is held every year, was successful.

“We were full, and we had a few people ask questions,” Barner said. “People hung around and talked to the mayors and Harry Sanders afterward.”

Barner said she was pleased the chamber had the relationship it did with officials in local government.