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County joins Hutton project

The county commission will invest $800,000 in the new Hutton Troy Marketplace that will bring a Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx to Troy.

The commission unanimously agreed to enter a project agreement with Hutton that closely resembles an agreement passed earlier this month by the Troy City Council.

Chairman Robin Sullivan said the county will not actually pay anything out of pocket to the company, instead remitting the commission’s portion of the county sales tax until the amount is paid off.

“The city actually came and asked us to participate,” Sullivan said. “At first they didn’t, but when they learned they needed our help, we stepped up to the plate.”

The city entered an agreement with Hutton to establish the shopping center off U.S. Highway 231 across from Troy Regional Medical Center, with several retail spaces slated to join Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx, which are both required to join the shopping center for the project to be completed.

The county’s portion of the agreement should be paid off in about 10 years, Sullivan said, with the tax remittance expiring once the amount is paid in full.

“We never would have known about this project if not for Jimmy Lunsford and Marsha Gaylard, so we thank them for adding us in, Sullivan said. “We also thank Mayor Jason Reeves and the Troy City Council for their involvement in this project. We’ve got the best working relationship we’ve ever had with the city across multiple different projects and we’re all on the same page. I think that’s what the citizens want from us and that’s what we’re trying to give them.”

Sullivan said there are several benefits to bringing this shopping center to Pike County.

“We’re not giving any incentives now, and we still keep our ad valorem taxes,” Sullivan said. “And the hope is that this will help our tax base grow. It goes hand-in-hand with all of the other economic development happening around Troy and Pike County.”

The commission also met in executive session to discuss further details about four sites being considered for the location of a new Pike County Jail. After seeing the new details, Sullivan said the commission plans to have a public hearing at the second July meeting on July 22 to present the data that the commission has been analyzing and allow for public comments about the possible sites.

“We don’t expect to vote at that meeting,” Sullivan said. “The plan is to probably digest that information for a couple of weeks and vote at that next meeting.”

Selecting a site is the next step the commission must take as it continues plans to build a new jail facility.

The commission also heard from Dianna Bascomb, president of the Pike County NAACP, about her concerns that the Pike County Road Department had set a moratorium on assisting in the construction of driveways for residents without adequate discussion before the public.

“As a citizen of Pike County, if there are financial issues where a service cannot be provided to citizens, one would think that would be on the budget,” Bascomb said. “But I’ve been through two budgets and there has been no mention that we need additional funding for driveways for the citizens, or if we do ‘x’ then we wont’ be able to do ‘y.’”

Bascomb said taxpayers need to know what services cost and whether there’s any waste that could be cut elsewhere to ensure important programs are kept.

Commissioner Charlie Harris, District 5, brought concerns that the shoulders of county roads are eroding and that the road department needs to continue work to ensure the shoulders are safe. Engineer Russell Oliver said the department is in an “ongoing battle” to maintain road shoulders.

The commission will meet next on Monday, July 8, upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:!5 p.m. and the business meeting will follow at 6 p.m.