Supervisors Approve Bond Issue

Lauderdale County supervisors have approved a $14 million bond issue on a 3-2 vote.

The money will go toward renovations at the courthouse and for sports facility developments in the county.

District 2 supervisor, Wayman Newell, and Kyle Rutledge of District 5 voted against it.

As the measure now stands, $4 million is to be used to start renovations on the county courthouse. Almost another $4 million will be used to build an indoor sportsplex at Highland Park.

Other money in the bond issue has $3.5 million and $2.5 million slated for building outdoor community recreational projects in Collinsville and Clarkdale.

Newell says he was informed late last Thursday by the county administrator that the proposed amount for the bond was $14 million.

"My main concern is that we as a board never sat down to discuss the money on how much we were going to borrow," Newell said. "It was talked one-on-one over the past six to eight months, or year, from $5 million to $18 million."

Although the bond that was approved will not require a tax increase, both supervisors Newell and Rutledge say they are concerned about whether approving this bond now could lead to a tax increase to fix roads during the next board's term.

County Administrator, Joe McCraney says this will not happen.

"The project was initially $18 million," McCraney said, "We cut it to $14 million in order to eliminate that possibility. So, the $10 million that we borrow every term for roads is secure."

Meanwhile, board president Hank Florey, of District 1, contends that the board has been discussing this bond issue for two years. He says the land that will be used for the three recreational facilities has either been donated to the county by private citizens or is being provided as part of a joint agreement with the city of Meridian.

Aside, from those three projects, Florey and District 4 Supervisor Joe Norwood say they also support building a large centralized sports complex.

"I'm for the central complex, but the people who are pushing it so hard have not come forward with a site," said Florey. "If they come to us with a site, we'll help them and we've told them that."

"It's too much to put on the taxpayers' back," said Norwood. "That will have to be done through the city with a food and beverage tax. Whenever they go out and find property, all they need to do is bring the board back to the table and we'll help with the property; we've said that all along."

If a centralized sports complex were built, Norwood says it would provide outdoor recreation facilities.