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County supervisors defend New York trip

By Staff
LISTENING TO COMPLAINT District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell responds Monday to comments made by Lauderdale County resident Raymond Sims during the board's regular meeting. Sims told supervisors the raw sewage he complained of has stopped flowing onto his property in the Zero community but the flow of clear water continues and the smell remains. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
March 16, 2004
Lauderdale County officials on Monday defended their planned trip to New York City next week as a way to secure a low interest rate on a $3.8 million loan for street paving.
County officials are expected to borrow the money next month by selling general obligation bonds. They plan to meet in New York with a bond rating commission to help maintain the county's good credit rating.
Set to make the March 25-28 trip are Supervisors Eddie Harper, Jimmie Smith, Craig Hitt and Joe Norwood. County Administrator Rex Hiatt, County Engineer Neal Carson and supervisors' attorney Rick Barry also will go.
Supervisor Ray Boswell will not make the trip.
Bond rating commissions assess the economy, debt structure, financial condition, demographics and the governing body's management practices and administration when assigning a bond rating.
The county's bond rating will help determine the interest rate for the paving loan and other loans.
But Eddie Smith, a local radio talk show host, said he and other local residents don't believe county officials should use taxpayer money to travel to New York. Smith called the trip a vacation.
Some supervisors, however, said after the meeting that the trip was vital to the county's efforts to maintain its bond rating.
Hitt, who represents District 3, agreed.
Lauderdale County supervisors told Raymond Sims, a resident of the Zero Community, that he may have to pursue legal action against a nearby property owner to prevent what he called a leaky drainage and sewer system.
Sims complained publicly last week that the leak is flooding his yard and causing a health hazard. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is investigating the case.