Lafayette County leaders create committees to plan

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lafayette County is moving closer to modernizing its comprehensive plan.

Mike Slaughter, whose firm the county’s board of supervisors hired to update the plan, gave an update to county officials during their regular board meeting Monday, as well as sought suggestions on how they should proceed going forward.

Two committees have been created for the comprehensive plan.

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A Steering Committee/Land Use & Policy Working Group will be led by Supervisors Kevin Frye and Jeff Busby, while a Transportation, Infrastructure & Public Facilities/Services Working Group will be headed up by Supervisors Chad McLarty and Mike Roberts.

Slaughter suggested he sit down and meet with the county department heads first before meeting with the committee members.

“I’d like to have that one-on-one time with the team and have dialogue with the department heads,” Slaughter told the board. “We want to make sure to include everyone who is directly or indirectly involved with the county.”

Frye would like for Slaughter to also meet with committee members to give them some idea of what their responsibilities will entail.

Slaughter agreed that would be a great idea.

Slaughter also said his firm is still gathering information and should be ready to start setting up those meetings with department heads in the next couple of weeks.

McLarty would like for the committee members to sit down with Slaughter once or twice a month during the process.

“I think the more time to sit together, the better off we’d be,” McLarty said. “I’m more than eager to get started.”

He also thanked committee members for their service.

“I look forward to working with them and appreciate their willingness to volunteer and make Lafayette County a better place to live,” McLarty said.

Developments get tabled

In other matters Monday, supervisors tabled two items on the agenda.

Supervisor Jeff Busby, who attended the meeting via teleconference, requested the board table a request to reduce the construction bond on Pine Needle subdivision.

Busby was concerned that neighbors in the area have had past issues with the developer and wanted to make sure that they have been made aware of the developer’s plans.

“I understand what you’re saying,” county engineer Larry Britt said. “This is normal procedure to reduce the bond, but I understand what you’re saying. There have been some issues out there with the drainage.”

Jeff Williams with Williams Engineering approached the board about doing some improvements to County Road 300. During the development of Callicutt Farms, city of Oxford officials were concerned about the second entrance from County Road 300 in to the development, according to Williams.

County Road 300 is in the long-range plans of the city to connect South Lamar Boulevard with Old Taylor Road. Williams said during the development of Callicutt Farms it became necessary to make that connection with County Road 300.

“What we are proposing to do is create the connection through Oxford Farms,” Williams said. “It will be known as Oxford Way.”

Williams said the plan would be to have 20 feet of pavement through that stretch of County Road 300 with a 4-inch asphalt trench and a one-and-a-half-inch asphalt overlay.

County Road Manager Jerry Haynie mentioned that the road was damaged by trucks hauling dirt from the back of the development to the front of the development and asked if they would fix the road.

“We’ll make whatever repairs we’re responsible for,” Williams said.

Frye said he was in favor of the improvements but was concerned what was being presented was “non-specific.”

“Could you bring us in something at the next meeting showing specifically what you are planning on doing?” Frye asked.

Williams said he certainly could.

Frye requested the issue be tabled “so we can have a clear understanding between the board and what you guys are doing.”

His fellow supervisors agreed.

Special meeting Friday

The board also called a special meeting for Friday at 8 a.m. regarding a work session with Economic Development Foundation President Jon Maynard. Maynard recently met with the board to discuss a Tennessee Valley Authority program called InvestPrep, which is a 50 percent match program for up to $500,000. Maynard is expected to discuss with the supervisors ideas to use the grant money if it is awarded to the county.

One idea Maynard would like to see done is a workforce study of Lafayette County to help address the thinning workforce. He’d also like to see some improvements to the industrial park, particularly take funds already set aside for an overlay of the road and with the matching grant create a three-lane curb and gutter and possibly extend the road. A third plan would be to take the existing spec building pad at the industrial park and rebuild the spec building that was destroyed by a tornado. Maynard suggested it could be a contract warehouse or an incubator.

“We can do an awful lot of great things with this,” Maynard recently said.