Hed: Supervisors meet today to drive Toyota site along
By Leesha Faulkner and Dennis Seid
Daily Journal staff writers
TUPELO - Lee County supervisors are expected to prepare clearing the way for Toyota Mississippi.
Supervisors will meet at 9 a.m. today in the Lee County Justice Center to consider a resolution that would see a total of $30 million in general obligation bonds issued for the site preparation at Blue Springs and other start-up costs.
"Each county will issue $10 million in bonds for this," said Lee County Administrator Ronnie Bell. "but first the Legislature will have to pass the local and private bill. To do that, they want a resolution supporting the measure from each county."
The PUL Alliance made up of Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties is responsible for purchase and development of the 1,700 industrial megasite at Blue Springs that will become Toyota Mississippi.
Also, supervisors are expected to consider a resolution that would authorize bond money for extension of water and sewer lines from Tupelo to the site, about 18 miles, Bell said. The city of Tupelo will oversee maintenance and operation of water and sewer.
These bills are local and private ones and not part of the incentive package also under consideration by the Legislature.
An MDA spokeswoman said the agency and legislators were still "haggling over" details of the incentive package on Wednesday afternoon.
"At this point, our information is that it's about $298 million, even though we're aware of other reports," she said.
She also said that the plant is hiring 2,000 employees directly, but the additional 2,000 jobs attributed by other media reports could be the possible supplier-related jobs.
Toyota spokesman Dan Siegler confirmed that the company has plans for only 2,000 employees.
Acknowledging Gov. Haley Barbour's comments that the facility reaches 4,000 employees, Siegler said he appreciated the governor's confidence.
But, Siegler said, "it's our goal to meet customer demand, and if the demand warrants it, we'll have to look at how to grow. But for now, we're saying it's 2,000 at the Mississippi site by 2010."
Contact Daily Journal county-courts reporter Leesha Faulkner at 678-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.