Welcome to Wayne County, Mississippi, a unique place where genuine Southern hospitality meets a desire for an unparalleled quality of life through hard work. As of 2012, the population estimate of our county was 20,661, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The county seat is located in Waynesboro, which is one of two incorporated communities in the area. The other municipality is the town of State Line, which sits on the border of Wayne and Greene counties. While both municipalities are governed by a mayor and a five-member Board of Aldermen, Waynesboro's aldermen are elected from four single-member voting districts while the mayor and one alderman are elected at-large from throughout the city. State Line's mayor and aldermen are elected at-large with the five top vote-getters from the aldermen candidates pool selected for seats on the board. All municipal elected officials serve four-year terms in office.
The county is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors, which is elected from single-member voting districts established by the numbers from the federal decennial Census. Unincorperated communities in Wayne County include: Battles, Boice, Buckatunna, Chicora, Clara, Corinth, Coyt, Crossroad, Denham, Eret, Eucutta, Frost Bridge, Gretna, Hiwannee, Matherville, Maynor Creek, Mulberry, Pleasant Grove, Progress, Robinson Junction, Strengthford, Tokio, West King, Winchester, Woodwards Switch and Yellow Creek.
The county has a total area of 813.5 square miles -- with 810.32 square miles of land and 3.18 square miles of water.
Wayne County's climate is best described as generally mild as indicated by the following data: Average annual high temperature is 76.5 degrees. Average annual low temperature is 51.1 degrees. Average year-round temperature is 63.8 degrees. Average annual precipitation is 58 inches. The typical coldest month of the year is January -- where the daily high temperatures average around 54 degrees and the nighttime lows average around 34 degrees. The typical hottest month is July when average daily highs reach 92 and average nighttime lows stand at 69 degrees.
The county has a total of six public schools -- including one high school (Wayne County High School for students in grades 9 through 12), four middle schools (Beat Four, Buckatunna, Clara, Waynesboro Middle) and four elementary schools (Beat Four, Buckatunna, Clara and Waynesboro Elementary). The Wayne County School District also operates the Wayne County Career and Technical Center, which provides students with key industrial and job skills in areas such as agriculture, industrial maintenance, building trades and automobile mechanics, to name a few.
In addition, the area is served by a private school -- Wayne Academy, which serves pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students. Founded in 1970, WA has earned nationally recognized accreditation through AdvancED's Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.
The area is also served by Jones County Junior College, which celebrated its 100th year in 2011. JCJC, in partnership with the Wayne County Board of Supervisors and other local, state and federal agencies, has built a classroom and laboratory learning facility that provides training in areas such as nursing, welding and instrumentation along with traditional college courses.
The Waynesboro-Wayne County Library is a crown jewel in our community. Begun in 1934, the library has seen many incarnations through the years, and, since 2003, has occupied more than 17,000 square foot in what was formerly a Wal-Mart department store on Mississippi Drive in Waynesboro. The ultra-modern library facility offers a wide range of community-based services, computer usage, wi-fi Internet connections, classes, community education programs as well as an Internet cafe and a bookstore operated by the Friends of the Library.
Wayne General Hospital, which is the county's 80-bed primary care facility, offers full emergency room services, outpatient surgery and a wide range of specialty care physicians on call around the clock. The hospital also operates the county's ambulance and Emergency Medical Services operations, and offers physical therapy services as well as a community wellness center and lighted outdoor walking track.
Recreational facilities abound in Wayne County. Maynor Creek Water Park is a 450-acre site that offers world-class fishing, boating, swimming and camping facilties. Rustic cabins and meeting halls are spaced throughout the park, and a covered stage is located near the shoreline to provide a venue for concerts and programs.
The pristine Chickasawhay River and meandering Buckatunna Creek offer excellent opportunities to boat on or float down, to fish or to see wildlife in its natural surroundings. Both watershed feed eventually feed into the nationally recognized Pascagoula River.
Wayne County is also home to a major portion of the DeSoto National Forest -- one of the most important protected areas for biological diversity of the Gulf Coast ecoregion of North America. The DeSoto National Forest is an important site for protection of longleaf pine savannas, pine flatwoods and longleaf pine forests. More than 90 percent of this ecosystem tyle has been lost in the United States.
Waynesboro is also home to a community golf course, and the city maintains a number of neighborhood public parks that have everything from tennis courts to covered pavilions and from walking trails to playground equipment.
And compared to the rest of the country, Wayne County's cost of living is 20.20 percent less than the national average -- making for an inexpensive way of life and lifestyle.
Wayne County had 496 businesses that generated $223,094,127 in gross sales during fiscal year 2012, according to the Mississippi Department of Revenue. Gross sales by sector included: Automotive, $17,678,852; Machinery-Equipment-Supplies, $13,296,193; Food and Beverage, $46,271,637; Furniture and Fixtures, $2,618,166; Public Utilities, $13,311,737; Apparel-General Merchandise, $59,935,266; Lumber-Building Materials, $7,540,022; Miscellaneous Retail, $12,259,728; Miscellaneous Services, $27,749,382; and Contracting, $22,388,973. Gross taxes generated in the county during FY 2012 was valued at $14,131,411.