Handling of Grant Application Questioned

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Dr. Judy Phillips of Mississippi State University aids the Meridian and Lauderdale County in writing grant applications. One of those was to the Office of Economic Adjustment for $175,000.

It's designated for deciding what to do with NAS Meridian, if it is closed. Phillips reported its availability to the City Council Tuesday and to supervisors at a Thursday work session.

"Most communities form some kind of authority and their sole purpose is the redevelopment of that base," said Phillips. "So part of this initial planning process will be for the community to identify what the composition of that entity will be."

The grant is in the city of Meridian's name, although reference is made to the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation and Lauderdale County as eligible recipients as well.

Craig Hitt said he wished it had been a joint effort. Ray Boswell objected because the city was contacted first.

"I'll take the responsibility because I wrote the grant. I probably should have come and talked to you about it," said Phillips.

"So you've discussed it with everybody except the board of supervisors. That really ticks me off," Boswell said.

Phillips apologized but said time would be better spent addressing the potential loss of NAS Meridian.

Board members ultimately agreed to contact other cities that lost their bases in the last round to see how they handled it.