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Supervisors accept petition asking for line of credit election

By Staff
PETITIONS Lauderdale County Chancery Clerk Ann Wilson Hayes presents petitions with 3,913 names to District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell, a critic of the line of credit plan, at a meeting Tuesday. Signers sent a message to supervisors that they oppose a proposed $5 million line of credit arrangement through the Mississippi Development Bank. Photo by Carisa McCain / The Meridian Star
By Chris Allen Baker/staff writer
Feb 20, 2002
Lauderdale County supervisors could know in two weeks if enough registered voters signed petitions filed Tuesday to force a vote on whether to establish a $5 million line of credit.
Supporters of the vote submitted petitions signed by 3,913 people more than twice the 1,500 needed to force a referendum. The circuit clerk now must verify they are registered voters.
Supervisors voted 4-1 on Jan. 11 to establish a $5 million line of credit through the Mississippi Development Bank. Supervisors said they could use the money for capital improvement projects.
Supervisors already have identified $8.3 million in potential projects, including renovation of a courthouse annex elevator and improvements to county roads.
The county could borrow money from the $5 million pool at 2.95 percent interest.
District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell, who cast the sole dissenting vote, has spent the past month working with opponents to collect signatures on petitions to force a vote.
Boswell said he is happy with the petition drive, calling it "good government participation."
District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt, who serves as president of the Board of Supervisors, said a special election on the line of credit would be costly for the county about $40,000.
Hitt said the entire line of credit could be jeopardized if the county scheduled the vote to coincide with the November federal elections. The Mississippi Development Bank makes funds available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
But supporters of an election said the vote is needed. William Hugh Johnson told supervisors that the petition drive "is a protest of you borrowing this money without an election."