Citizens Favor, Oppose Project Funding

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The Lauderdale County board of supervisors conducted a public hearing on whether to increase the Opera House funding contribution from $3 million to $4 million.

About 60 people attended the meeting. Speakers both pro and con had their say.

"We the taxpayers have given too much, way too much already, so the foundation should have foreseen the total need initially," said Ernest Smith.

"I think it would be another step forward," said Buddy Kahlmus. "I realize you've already made a very substantial commitment to this but we're asking you to go one step further because of what it would mean."

"Gentlemen I'm asking you to use my tax dollars to help provide basic services to the citizens of this area, not to support a venture that at this time is neither logical nor in the best interests of the general citizens of this area," Tom Harley said.

"I'm for progress. I'm for the Arts and Entertainment Center if it will work," said Ralph Morgan. "I hope it will. If you don't never try, you don't ever do anything."

Supervisor Ray Boswell stuck to his announced position against the additional funding.

"It's not about supporting Mississippi State. It's about whether we can afford this money or not," Boswell said.

But supervisor Jimmie Smith said he does not agree.

"I think if we don't continue and try to invest and recreate our community into a progressive community, we will fail," said Smith.

The final vote was four to one in favor of increasing the county's contribution from $3 million to $4 million.