County approves line of credit deal
SPEAKING UP Chuck McElroy was among a number of Lauderdale County residents who spoke up at a board of supervisors meeting Friday when a line of credit was discussed. Supervisors approved the plan on a 4-1 vote. Seated, from left, are County Administrator Rex Hiatt, District 2 Supervisor Jimmie Smith and board president Craig Hitt, of District 3. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Chris Allen Baker/staff writer
Jan. 12, 2002
Already laden with more than $26.6 million in debt, Lauderdale County supervisors voted Friday to open a line of credit through a state development bank.
They also identified more than $8.3 million in potential needs for the $5 million line of credit available through the Mississippi Development Bank.
The 4-1 vote came despite vocal opposition from residents. Supervisors who supported the move said it would offer more financing options in filling a variety of immediate needs.
There are some restrictions on using the line of credit, which the county can tap into at an interest rate of 2.95 percent. Any loans taken will require board votes.
The resolution will be published three times as a legal ad in The Meridian Star. If a petition signed by at least 1,500 county residents is filed with the chancery clerk by 9 a.m. on Feb. 18, the issue could be put to a public vote. Otherwise, the resolution approved Friday will be adopted.
District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell, the lone dissenting vote against setting up the line of credit, said he fears it may prompt the board to increase taxes in the future. Boswell has opposed the line of credit since the issue was discussed in a work session last week.
Boswell said he has no problem with purchasing road equipment, which he said is badly needed. But he disagreed with the list of proposed uses compiled by supervisors, which totaled $3.3 million more than the line of credit would allow. Supervisors said they hope to set priorities for the potential borrowing.
District 1 Supervisor Hank Florey said the line of credit option will benefit the county.
Board president Craig Hitt of District 3, District 2's Jimmie Smith and District 4's Q.V. Sykes also supported establishing the line of credit.