Thursday, August 27, 2009
Supervisors asked to support e-WIN
By SUE WATSON
Betty Yates and Edward Moses, representing the newly formed e-WIN center in Holly Springs, appeared before the board of supervisors last week with a budget request of over $100,000.
Yates said the center needs an office space and operating money.
Moses said unemployment is high in the area and the center will help deliver jobs.
“E-WIN has a center but no funding for it,” he said.
Since the center was designated about a month ago, over 60 people have been served with unemployment applications or job searches, he said.
Moses said the community should collaborate to find an office space and finances. The center is temporarily located in a house on the Rust College campus. Moses said the center needs to be in a more visible place and less obscure.
Yates presented a proposed budget of $115,798, which she hopes to get from the city of Holly Springs, Marshall County and the state.
She said the Mississippi Department of Employment Security is excited to make this the first e-WIN center in North Mississippi but has concerns about the sustainability of the program as a satellite to the WIN Center in DeSoto County.
Locally, the center, which helps laid off workers file for unemployment and helps unemployed people search for jobs online, opened July 14 and has been taking referrals since.
Yates said a youth skills program (Arbor Education and Training) was dropped when the e-WIN Center was approved. Three Rivers Planning and Development District was funding the education program, she said.
The youth program was paying Rust College $1,500 monthly for rent.
She said the U.S. Department of Labor funds the WIN program. The key ingredient in this center is to provide services that are locally accessible to the unemployed, she said, saving the unemployed traveling expense to DeSoto County.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett noted that these are tough financial times.
Yates said someone has to help the youth who drops out of school to get a GED certificate and the laid-off worker to find another job.
Supervisor George Zinn III noted that when the WIN Center moved its temporary office out of Marshall County, unemployment was at its highest. He thanked State Rep. Kelvin Buck and Sen. Bill Stone for helping get the e-WIN Center designated in Marshall County.
“I’m for the idea of providing some housing as we provided in the past,” he said.
Yates explained that the center is operating on rent provided for the youth program until September 1 and is using computers provided by Caterpillar Corp. in recent years.
“What you need now is a place to go?” asked Bennett.
Yates said the community would “look crazy” to have begged four years for the WIN program then close it down for lack of funding. She had access to 1,050 square feet but would like 1,250 square feet of office space, she said.
Supervisor Keith Taylor said he supports the e-WIN idea in Marshall County but the county is also providing money for the WIN Program at Northwest Community College. He said he does not think the county should budget for both.
“That’s double billing,” he said.
With that discussion concluded, Zinn made a motion to look into the county providing office space for the e-WIN Center and to pay for utilities. The motion was seconded by Taylor and passed unanimously.
During the elected official’s report that followed, Marshall County Tax Collector Juanita Dillard reminded the board it has offered to renovate her office and she said she wanted permission to open a satellite office at the substation in Byhalia on Highway 309 North. She said an office in the substation next to the tax collector’s office would be opened in January, February and March - the months for Homestead Exemption signup. No equipment would be needed and a phone and printer would be sufficient to open for three months, she said. No additional personnel would be hired as someone at the Holly Springs office would commute to Byhalia.
After friendly banter from supervisors, including Ronnie Joe Bennett who said his constituents would like a substation, too, the board approved a motion by Taylor and seconded by Eddie Dixon to provide the space and for other needs.
In zoning matters, executive director Conway Moore presented a request from a Byhalia resident who has to move her double-wide mobile home and wants to go into a subdivision whose covenants restrict it.
The board of supervisors said it does not deal with covenant concerns and that the resident should get the requisite signatures from subdivision residents required to permit an exception.
If 80 percent of the residents in the subdivision agree, the resident then will be authorized to relocate her double-wide to the subdivision, supervisors said.
In other business, Elaine Warren Powers requested a portion of Hernando Road be dedicated to the memory of her late father, Alvin Warren Sr., and her late brother, Alvin Warren Jr. The two had done much to help upkeep Hernando Road in the days when it was a dirt road; and then she and her nine sisters agreed to give two acres each for right-of-way to help straighten the road to make it safer, she said. The Warrens owned a cotton gin and a country store and theater in the area and worked hard to keep the road safe and passible, she said.
The board approved dedicating a 2.5 mile stretch of Hernando Road starting at Isaac Chapel Road and extending to Highway 309 in honor of Alvin Warren (both father and son).
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