Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development District: Who we are and how we help Choctaw County

By Ron Bennett and Amanda McBride

New and exciting developments are happening in Choctaw County everyday. The Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce and the Choctaw County Economic Development District are proud to be a part of these new developments. Both organizations are working to enhance Choctaw County and make everyday a great day in Choctaw County.

Both organizations’ boards want our citizens to understand the function, make-up, and purpose of the Choctaw County Economic Development District and the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce.

Photos by Donna McKay Board members of the Choctaw County Economic Development District/Choctaw County Chamber Board, along with Supervisor Chris McIntire toured Southern Company Services, Red Hill Operations power plan, in October 2013, to get a better understanding of how the plant operates.

Photos by Donna McKay
Board members of the Choctaw County Economic Development District/Choctaw County Chamber Board, along with Supervisor Chris McIntire toured Southern Company Services, Red Hill Operations power plan, in October 2013, to get a better understanding of how the plant operates.

Below describes the function, purpose and recent changes to both organizations.

The Choctaw County Economic Development District Board of Trustees (The District) consists of an 11-member board appointed for a three-year term by the Choctaw County Board of Supervisors. Members are county residents representing all five county districts.

The Choctaw County Economic Development District Board of Trustees are:

Ron Bennett–Board President, Katherine Black–Vice President, Debra Ward–Secretary, Steve Montgomery-Treasurer, Kevin Null-Board Attorney, Dr. Phillip Evans, Gradie Ervin, Stewart Edwards, Ellen Turnipseed, Kenya McKinley, Juli Hughes, Teresa Ryan and Carey Bunkelman.

Our main goal is to provide economic growth and encourage industry to locate and grow in our county. The district is funded by the Fly Ash Sales from the coal-fired electricity generating plant, Southern Company Services, Red Hill Operations.

Choctaw County is very fortunate to have budget needs met by this source. Choctaw is one of a few, if not the only county, in Mississippi that does not require tax mills to fund economic development.

The District has a sister organization called the Choctaw County Economic Development Foundation that is now doing business as the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber).

In 2012, we began to change the Foundation’s function and board to a County Chamber of Commerce. This has been an exciting new journey.

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The Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce’s main function is to support our existing local businesses, encourage new business and provide community events.

The Chamber is organized to advance the general welfare of Choctaw County so that our citizens and all of the business community shall prosper. Some areas of particular attention include economic, civic, commercial, cultural, recreational, education and quality of life.

The Chamber of Commerce is made up of paid memberships and governed by a seven member Board of Directors. The board is elected by the Chamber membership.

The Choctaw County Chamber Board of Directors are: Amanda McBride–Board President, Dannie Reed–Vice President, Kasey Burney Young–Secretary/Treasurer, Matthew Cauthen, Debbie Bunkelman, Tekoa Miller and Jamie McHan.

The Chamber is funded through membership dues and supplemented by a budget from the District.

Becoming a member of the Chamber brings many benefits and perks to businesses including being listed on the Chamber website, www.choctawcountyms.com.

The Chamber owns the J. P. Coleman Office Building located at 55 E. Quinn Street, Ackerman, and also the Choctaw County Community Center.

The Chamber/District has two full time employees, Chamber Director Steve Anderson and Administrative Assistant Donna McKay. Both employees carry out the day-to-day operations of the Chamber of Commerce and help manage the District board interests.

Our excellent staff can assist you with a myriad of expertise in most any area your business or organization might need. Call 662-285-3778 or e-mail d.mckay@choctawcountyms.com for more information.