The town of Marion plans to borrow over $1 million to build its own wastewater treatment plant, but the lender in effect wants a co-signer.
The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors agreed to provide the necessary guarantee.
Marion has applied for a community development block grant of $450,000 to help fund the $1.3 million project and says it can provide $190,000 of its own money.
The remaining $750,000 would be from a cap loan provided by the Mississippi Development Authority, but Jennifer Buford with East Central Planning and Development District says that loan would come with strings attached.
"Now the wastewater treatment plant project has to be self sufficient by state law and they will have enough funds once the project's completed," Buford said. "And they collect user fees that they can use to pay this note, but the state is requesting that they ask the county to guarantee the loan for $750,000."
"I know we want to help Marion but what guarantee does this board get that we will recover any of this money, if in fact, something did happen?" asked supervisor Ray Boswell, "and apparently the state's not willing to take up that responsibility, so they want us to take it. What guarantee do we have that the citizens of Lauderdale County would be protected?"
Buford said Marion needed the help because it would be borrowing beyond its legal limit.
"It's just that the state uses tax revenue to guarantee the loan and they can only use 25 percent to guarantee and with another loan that they have this exceeds that 25 percent limit.
The board approved the guarantee 5 to 0.