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Line of credit vote delayed by supervisors

By By Chris Allen Baker/staff writer
Jan. 8, 2002
Lauderdale County supervisors could decide Friday whether to establish a $3 million or $5 million line of credit with the state to fund capital improvement projects.
Supervisors delayed a vote at their Monday meeting after District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell said he wanted more details about the proposed projects.
Boswell also was concerned that the county would establish a line of credit at the same time as the city of Meridian. City council members could vote today to establish a $10 million line of credit.
At issue is whether the county should establish a line of credit with the Mississippi Development Bank a fund administered by the Mississippi Development Authority.
If a $3 million line of credit is established, the county could draw money at taxpayer expense to fund $300,000 in renovations to a courthouse annex elevator, $1 million in equipment needs and future land purchases for industrial property.
If a $5 million line of credit is established, the county could fund two additional projects: an expansion of the county juvenile detention center and improvements to the courthouse law library.
County administrator Rex Hiatt said the county could borrow the money from the Development Bank at 2.95 percent interest. Only available cash could be used to re-pay the loan, he said, meaning it would not raise taxes.
On Monday, supervisors spent about an hour discussing the line of credit. They also heard from three county residents who said they opposed the idea.
In the end, they delayed a vote until their 10 a.m. Friday meeting.
Boswell said he is not opposed borrowing the money at a 2 percent or 3 percent interest rate "if we really need it." But he said he has reservations about the proposal.