Commish court

Panola County Commissioners are seen at their March 14 meeting.

Keri Perot-Vance, Panola County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, has been appointed to an additional role in a non-paid position as the Panola County Coordinator and Economic Development Representative.

That action came during a March 14 meeting of the Panola County Commissioners’ Court. Dr. John Ray, chairman of the board for the chamber, said he recommended the action and feels it can help put the county in the running for making proposals for economic development leads going through the state.

“I think there’s an opportunity for Panola County to get some (economic development) leads from the state,” he said. Ray said the action will be a good fit for efforts already going on at the Panola County Chamber of Commerce.

Perot-Vance said the fact that surrounding counties were obtaining those types of leads while Panola County was not captured the attention of local officials. She recent met with Panola County Judge Rodger McLane to access the best way to move forward to ensure the county is not missing on out opportunities.

“There’s a lot of economic development, if you notice, going on around us we’ve seen in other communities with contracts and new businesses coming in,” she said. “We wondered why we weren’t getting some of those leads.”

That lead to a visit with Betty Russo, the regional liaison from the governor’s office for economic development and tourism. In order to get leads for new business and industry from the state, there needs to a named contact to receive economic development leads for the county.

Perot-Vance said the chamber serves in the role as promoting economic development for the county the state..

“This would directly compliment what I’m already doing,” she told commissioners. The additional role requires attending a state class and getting certified for the position with classes held twice a year, Perot-Vance said.

McLane said after meeting with Russo, he feels confident the move is in the county’s best interest.

“It’s just one of those bureaucratic things we need to check off in order to get leads from the governor’s office,” he said. Perot-Vance said the City of Carthage and its economic development corporation is in the process of going through a similar process.

Other Items

In other business, the court received one sealed bid for acquiring a new-three-quarter ton crew cab for the road and bridge department. The bid from Pippen Motor Co. for $62,377 was unanimously approved upon a motion by Pct. 3 Commissioner Craig Lawless.

Commissioners also deemed several items of county property as surplus and approved the advertising to accept bids on two floor machines, one buffer, two wooden magazine racks and two wooden shelves. Bid specifications are available in the county judge’s office with the opening of bids scheduled on March 28.

The court also heard a presentation by David Cleveland, executive director of the East Texas Council of Governments, on the need for adopting a board band action plan for the county. He said ETGOG officials have met with county representatives, including former County Judge David Anderson.

“You have a very engaged local team,” Cleveland said of behind the scenes efforts to improve internet and broadband connectivity in the county. Adoption of a resolution supporting the broadband action plan will help ETCOG and the county, apply for and potentially receive federal grants.

The item is scheduled to be placed on the court’s March 28 meeting for consideration.