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County goof forces bond reapproval

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Lauderdale County supervisors re-approved a slightly higher bid Tuesday from a Chicago investment firm for the financing of $4.25 million in taxable general obligation bonds that will be used to fund a new industrial park in an area currently known as "Malone Ranch."
The 4-1 vote came four weeks after supervisors initially awarded the financing package to Griffin, Kubik, Stephens and Thompson of Chicago.
County officials had run other notices about the bonds, but this particular one is required by law to be published as a legal notice to firms that may want to bid.
Even on the second try, Griffin Kubik's bid carried the lowest interest rate. But the rate is slightly higher than their last bid 7.36 percent versus 7.30 percent the first time. Hiatt said he is calculating how much more money the new bid will cost the county.
Interest rates are prone to change quickly based on the stock market and other conditions.
The bonds are fall into the category of taxable general obligation bonds because industrial parks are developed for private industries.
District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt voted against awarding the bonds.
Last month, District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell abstained from voting because there is a parcel of land northeast of Sweet Gum Bottom supervisors do not have an option to buy.
Since then, he has approved selling the bonds as long as the board does not vote to pay more for the parcel than they originally agreed to pay.
Boswell also says if supervisors don't purchase the parcel, the money designated for it should go toward the payback of the bonds.
He said the industrial park can be developed without that property.
Hiatt said the board might have some eminent domain authority to get the property if necessary.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@meridianstar.com.

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