Local leaders give report

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2012

While the President of the United States gave his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, local leaders gave a state of the county report Wednesday morning.

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said he was proud that Pike County had one of the lowest employment rates in the state, and mentioned part of that accomplishment was due to thriving industries, such as Southern Classic Foods that manufactures several items, including Dreamland BBQ Sauce and Hershey Syrup.

“We’re real proud of that in Brundidge. I get up every morning and have a big glass of chocolate milk,” Ramage said with a smile.

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Ramage, along with Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford and County Commission Chair Homer Wright, spoke at the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast Wednesday that was attended by about 65 people.

“Our citizens got a brand new library for 30 cents on the dollar,” Ramage said, adding that the old library will be converted into a genealogy research center.

Ramage also said the city had worked with East Central Mental Health to start an after school program that already benefits 65 students.

“We’re real proud of what the council has been able to do,” Ramage said.

“So far we’ve done good,” Wright said, as he addressed business leaders in Pike County, citing a 3 percent sales tax increase, but a 1 percent ad valorem decrease. “We need to come up with some ideas to come up with funds.”

When Lunsford stood to speak, he first mentioned a plan he felt has been working since the 80s.

“We had a 2 cent sales tax in the City of Troy in the 80s and we have a 2 cent sales tax in the City of Troy, today,” Lunsford said. “We tried to grow our tax base, instead of increase taxes.”

Lunsford also spoke to the about the Troy Municipal Airport expansion and how facilitating larger planes in and out of the area will continue to help grow industry in Pike County.

“One of the most important things we have been able to accomplish is adding infrastructure in Troy,” Lunsford said. “We’ve been very fortunate through this downturn in our economy.”

Lunsford also said, because of the connection to Troy University and other area groups, area residents are given unique arts and entertainment opportunities.

“We are still small town America in the way we enjoy our way of life, but we are afforded big city opportunities,” Lunsford said.