OTR Wheel may add 25 jobs

By Joseph McCain The Winston County Journal

The Winston County Board of Supervisors took a step to helping OTR Wheel engineering locating a tire reclamation plant in Louisville.

Robert McIntosh, vice president for new products at OTR Wheel Engineering which is located in Rome, Georgia, explained the company’s tire recycling and reclamation project.

The process takes scrap tires and, through a pyrolysis process that converts the old tires to oil, carbon black and steel. “We think we’re doing something that’s pretty unique,” McIntosh said.

According to McIntosh, if approved the Louisville plant could be up and going and six months and recycle 15,000 tires at any given time. The plant would run 24 hours a day and seven days a week with three processing reactors. The plant could employ around 25 persons.

Winston County Economic Development Director Gerald Mills noted he was impressed by the company’s plans.

Ken Coon, a Winston County resident who has worked in the tire reclamation industry, asked several questions about the process and company.

“It is a needed operation,” said Coon. “Waste tires need addressing in the state.”

But Coon’s questions centered on the company’s ability to handle cleanup of an accident and to insure no public funds were being used on the project.

McIntosh reassured Coon that the OTR would be responsible for all safety and any issues that arose and had not received any government funds.

The supervisors approved the new solid waste plan that would allow OTR to collect waste tires from within a 100 mile radius of the plant to be located on Giffin Industrial Drive.

The plans and OTR’s approvals will be reviewed by the state and MDEQ prior to any moving forward on the plant.

McIntosh also mentioned that if the plant is approved that Winston County would be on the list as a possible site for the manufacturing of the pyrolysis equipment which would be a 200 job possibility.

Scenic Byways resolution reapproved The Winston County Supervisors also reapproved a resolution to apply for a scenic byways route to be designated as the Noxubee Hills Route.

Officials from the Tombigbee National Forest Service and Noxubee Refuge manager and assistant manager were in attendance to support the project.

The possible designated area involves parts of Choctaw, Winston and Noxubee Counties. The potential Mississippi Scenic Byway designation would be for The Choctaw Lake-Bluff Lake Route through the public lands of USDA’s Tombigbee National Forest (TNF) Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge (NNWR).

Winston County officials hope to have the full route along the scenic byway fully paved with public lands highway discretionary funds. Presently about half of the route is paved with the county seeking more federal funds to complete the other paving. The county’s latest application is for improving and paving a 5.2 mile section of the North Hills Route from Hwy 25 west to the Sturgis Road at Gum Branch Church.

Approximately 12% of the land area in Winston County is made up of the Federal Public Lands of TNF and NNWR. According to the application, this project will provide for safer access for the federal and private employees involved in the operation of the federal public lands, as well as for area residents and visitors.

Supervisor Mike Peterson noted that he felt that the county had an excellent chance of getting route designated with the history of the area. Peterson added that with the designation the county may be able to access additional federal funds for signage and other projects.

In other business, the supervisors:

• approved offering amnesty to anyone who owes fines to the county and giving them 30 days to pay fines before issuing arrest warrant. The board approved placing all persons names whose fines are 48 months or older in the Winston County Journal on May 30 edition.

• Approved transferring $3,500 from common county to the Fire Association fund due to a $2000 negative in the bank account. The board also requested that the account’s expenses be thoroughly examined from the beginning of the budget year to fund the discrepancy in the account. EMA director Clarence Kelly noted he believed the fund had not been reimbursed for the purchase of some repeater equipment.

• Approved minutes from previous meeting.

• Noted a Thank you from LHS Senior Kayla Jenkins who received the ECCC Board of Supervisors scholarship.

• Approved purchasing advertisement with Distinguished Young Woman Program.

• Transfered $660 to District One from District 3 for chemicals.

• Approved Justice court Clerks dues of $220.

• Approved payment to Choctaw Indian Compliance Officer.

• Approved minor change to Lobutcha Bridge project.

• Reviewed a list of appointments the city makes.

• Discussed a solid waste bill while approving solid waste additions in the county.

• Took under advisement at $800 bid on three silos at the old Spartus Building.

• Heard from Martha Allen with community counseling who outlined it was National Mental Health Month and pointed out the positive impact community counseling has on the community through its programs and through the $2 million invested in the community through payroll and other programs. The next regular supervisor’s meeting is June 4.