Council Approves List - Mayor Chides Media

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The Meridian City Council approved a list of streets to be paved with a $6 million bond issue approved last year. The action was followed by Mayor John Robert Smith's reply to critics of the delay in getting the paving program underway.

He said the bonds were sold last July, even though the street list was not ready, in order to get the lowest possible interest rate of 3.7 percent. He was critical of the Meridian Star's position alleging that the delay cost additional monies.

"The schedule and the rate average of 3.7 percent stays the same whether we start paving next week, next month or three months from now," said Smith. "The Star has tried to insinuate that by not beginning paving we actually pay more in interest. That, council members as you know, is not true."

He called stories implying the difference between what the city is paying in interest and the one percent the money is earning in interest as a 2.7 percent loss quote misleading.

"But the interest earnings that we are receiving while we're trying to time entrance into the construction market actually improves the financial situation of the entire project, not diminishes it," Smith said. "Each dollar saved in interest cost, each dollar saved in construction bids, is another dollar that can be put to work paving streets."

An inquiry by Newscenter 11 to APAC, the sole supplier of asphalt to both the city and county, revealed the APAC plant has been closed for repairs since Dec. 19 and could not have supplied any asphalt since that date.

The company said it hopes to reopen the plant this week.