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Supervisors poised to borrow $3 million for Riley center project

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
July 29, 2001
Lauderdale County supervisors are poised to borrow $3 million to fund their portion of costs associated with establishing the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center project.
After a public hearing earlier this month, supervisors approved a plan to borrow the money through the sale of bonds. Though a bond attorney had listed $3.7 million as the county's contribution to the project, supervisors rejected that figure and approved the original amount proposed  $3 million.
The $26 million project will also get funding from a $10 million Riley Foundation grant, $7 million from Meridian and $6 million in federal and state grants.
County Administrator Rex Hiatt said about $120,000 will cover the expenses of selling the bonds. Since the $3 million will be disbursed over a period of time, the interest it earns should almost pay off the $120,000 in fees, he said.
He said the loan will be repaid through an annual appropriation from the county's budget but will not result in a separate tax levy.
Property values are expected to increase after a countywide reappraisal process is complete next year. Hiatt said increased property values could repay a portion of the loan, but not necessarily.
Hiatt said funds to repay the loan could also be shifted from non-recurring expenditures.
Payments on the loan must begin a year after the bonds are sold, he said, and will be repaid over a period of 15 years. He said he does not know when the bonds will be sold it depends on when MSU officials call for the money or how much the interest rate will be.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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