The new alliance, which has no formal name, is modeled after the successful Pontotoc Union Lee - or PUL - Alliance, which helped attract Toyota Motor Corp. to Blue Springs
"Chickasaw has been interested in an alliance for some time," said Josh West, the regional economic developer for the group. West works within the Three Rivers Planning and Development District office. He was named the chief developer for Pontotoc and Union counties in 2009.
"They've worked with Three Rivers for several years on other development projects, and after seeing some of the things Pontotoc and Union have been able to do working together, we talked about the alliance," West said. "We're happy to have them."
The mayors and boards of alderman for Houston and Okolona and the Chickasaw County board of supervisors all voted in favor of joining the alliance.
The county will pay $40,000 and the cities $20,000 each in the one-year renewable agreement.
West's main focus is recruiting new industry. In another role, Rebecca Brantley will concentrate on existing industry in the counties.
Like the other two counties, Chickasaw County will maintain its local economic groups, the Chickasaw Development Foundation, based in Houston, and the Okolona Chamber of Commerce, West said.
"We'll work alongside with them just as we do on Pontotoc and Union counties," he said.
He told the Chickasaw Journal, "the regional approach is growing in the Southeast for many reasons. Business owners and site consultants want as many options as possible and a multi-county search with one contact point is attractive. ... The one-stop shop method works and that is one of the benefits of our program."