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County petitioners oppose line of credit

By By Chris Allen Baker/staff writer
Jan. 23, 2002
Lauderdale supervisors learned Tuesday that people who oppose their application for a $5 million line of credit from the state are circulating a petition. If they get 1,500 signatures, the county will have to hold a countywide election on the question.
To be valid, the petition must be submitted to the chancery clerk's office by 9 a.m. on Feb. 19.
Community activist Hugh Johnson told supervisors that petitions are already available at stores and other public areas and supporters plan to solicit signatures door to door.
Johnson said he did not start the petition drive but supports it.
On Jan. 11, supervisors voted 4-1 to approve a resolution allowing access to $5 million through the State Development Bank, funds which supervisors say will give the county options on a number of projects.
At an interest rate of 2.95 percent, supervisors said the county could borrow money to help pay for the projects on an $8.3 million "wish list."
Supervisors point out that each withdrawal would have to be individually authorized by a vote of the board. Johnson said this is not enough of a safeguard.
In the original resolution declaring their intent to apply for the line of credit, supervisors set Feb. 18 as the deadline for opponents to file opposing petitions.
In Tuesday's meeting, supervisors voted to extend the date to Feb. 19 because Feb. 18 is a legal holiday, Presidents Day. The extension was approved by a 4-1 vote.
District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell opposed the change because he thinks the issue should have been decided by a county election in the first place.