The Webster Progress-Times
Ten years after its creation, the Webster County Development Council is no more.
Its board of directors voted March 1 to adopt a plan of dissolution and dissolve the nonprofit corporation, according to records of a WCDC Board meeting at the Courthouse in Walthall.
No representative of the Progress-Times was present at the public meeting but Buchanan Meek Jr., attorney for the county Board of Supervisors, provided a copy of the unofficial minutes to the newspaper. They had not yet been signed by Sandra Dewberry, president, or Mike McCully, president, as of Tuesday afternoon.
The minutes give this account of the meeting: 17 of the 18 members of the board of directors were present; only Walthall Mayor Belinda Stewart was not present.
McCully turned the floor over to Meek, who presented to the directors and others present a proposed plan of dissolution.
Meek also presented a waiver of notice. Under state law, the directors were entitled to two days notice of the fact that dissolution of the corporation would be discussed and perhaps approved, and the notice should include a copy of the proposed plan of dissolution. All 17 of the directors present signed the waiver.
The waiver notes that, although the board members had more than two days notice of the date, time and place of the meeting, they had not had proper notice that approval of dissolution of the WCDC would be considered.
It reflects that they were not presented with a copy of the plan until they came to the meeting that night but desired to proceed with the dissolution at the meeting.
The directors then discussed the proposal to dissolve the corporation. Director Tommy Lott, mayor of Eupora, moved to adopt the plan of dissolution and dissolve the Development Council. Director Paul Duke seconded the motion. After the president called for a show of hands, 14 directors voted for the motion and none voted against the motion.
Director Dan Burchfield, Eupora’s at-large alderman, then moved that the meeting be adjourned and Director Pat Cummings, president of the Board of Supervisors, seconded the motion, and it was unanimously approved by voice vote. According to officials present, the meeting lasted no more than 30 minutes.
The plan of dissolution, which is signed by Meek, states that the WCDC “shall cease all operations as of today, March 1.” It adds that the board of directors believes the council has no remaining debts or obligations, and that all remaining assets, whether cash assets or otherwise, are to become the property of the city.
It further states that appropriate articles of dissolution will be drafted, to take effect March 1, and be delivered to the secretary of state as soon as possible.
The WCDC board of directors had its first meeting in January 2002. Steve Anderson served as its first executive director and was followed by Cynthia Wilson, who served until Dec. 31, when funding ran out.
The WCDC had been operating on reserve funds since allocations from local governmental entities, mainly the county and city, were cut years ago. The Eupora Board of Aldermen, in November, did authorize payment of nearly $3,000 to the WCDC from the city’s economic development budget. The additional funding was approved to keep the organization operating through December’s Christmas Market.
On Feb. 6, city aldermen approved a motion “for it to be placed in the minutes for the city of Eupora to withdraw from the Webster County Development Council.”
During Monday night’s regular monthly meeting, the city board voted to receive the WCDC’s remaining assets as outlined in the plan of dissolution and to accept the plan of dissolution. Billy Brister (Ward 2) made the motion to do so and Vickey Patterson (Ward 1) seconded his motion.
According to the discussion, assets include $3,000 remaining in the WCDC account — reflecting the money the city had last allocated to the Development Council.
Lott, Burchfield, Patterson and Eupora Alderman Hank Flowers met with the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 21 to discuss economic development. WCDC Treasurer Stan Blaylock joined the discussion.
Minutes show that Lott, Burchfield, Justyn Dixon of the Tennessee Valley Authority and Garrick Combs of the Mississippi Development Authority appeared before the county board on Feb. 29, also to discuss economic development.
During that meeting, records indicate, supervisors voted to appoint Bill Bland as District 5’s representative on the WCDC board of directors.
When last week’s WCDC meeting was scheduled during a Feb. 9 meeting of its board of directors, officials indicated it would, in part, be for the purpose of electing two at-large directors and officers for 2012.
Supervisor Paul Crowley said during the February meeting that the Board of Supervisors, of which he is vice president, was interested in carrying the Development Council forward. Cummings stated, “All five of us (supervisors) are dedicated to this in any way to make this thing work.”
Duke, the organization’s first president, said that night that he felt it was necessary to keep some kind of organization. Some present discussed the possibility of contracting with the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District to handle economic development duties for the county. Some supervisors indicated that Rudy Johnson, the PDD’s executive director, had already been contacted about that option.
During Monday night’s city board meeting, Aldermen Brister suggested setting up a meeting about forming a merchants’ association in Eupora. He recommended using some of the WCDC’s leftover funds as seed money. Other aldermen agreed with his suggestion and Brister said he planned to contact merchants about having a meeting if interest is shown.