Supervisors Discuss Cooper

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The issue of support for Meridian's Cooper Community project surfaced at the supervisors' work session Thursday.

The question related to the $1 million in financial support the city of Meridian has requested from Lauderdale County, in order to build the interchange off Highway 45, considered vital to the Cooper project.

District 1 supervisor Hank Florey said, under certain conditions, he would support $500,000.

Then the discussion deteriorated into virtually a shouting match between Ray Boswell of District 5, Board president Craig Hitt and Florey.

"I told you that there was discussion of between $300,000 and $500,000," said Hitt. "You said you were not interested in giving a penny and I said I respect that opinion and I understand that."

County administrator Rex Hiatt then explained the city was not asking the county for the money up front.

"We're not looking at whatever the dollar amount is that you decide if any you're going to give toward the Cooper project," said Hiatt. "It will be an annual payment. The city's going to front the million dollars and they're asking the county to amortize that million dollars over whatever kind of years you want to go. The city right now is looking at about 15 years using their line of credit. So if you want to amortize a million dollars over 15 years you're looking at about 80 some thousand dollars a year."

City officials in the past have argued the county will get more than that in return through additional tax revenue created by the homes to be built.

Supervisor Ray Boswell continued to argue that he had not been sufficiently informed about the Cooper project but the meeting continued without any definite agreement on the county's role.