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franklin county times

Spirit of the season

By By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Dec. 17, 2001
Meridian city leaders want to borrow up to $10 million for unspecified projects that could include road, water and sewer improvements.
George Thomas, president of the Meridian City Council, said today city leaders want to establish a $10 million line of credit from which they could pay for future projects. None of the city officials contacted, however, would specify any of those potential projects.
Thomas and the other councilmen could authorize the loan at their Jan. 8 meeting unless 1,500 people file a petition in objection by 9 a. m. that morning forcing a citywide referendum.
Mayor John Robert Smith was reported out of town last week and couldn't be reached for comment. Chief Administrative Office Ken Storms did not return phone calls seeking comments.
If approved, the city would be able to draw up to $10 million at taxpayer expense from the Mississippi Development Bank a fund administered by the Mississippi Development Authority.
Any money borrowed would have to be re-paid in 25 years from tax dollars collected in Meridian.
A legal ad alerting the public to the loan, which will appear in the Tuesday edition of The Meridian Star, includes a long list of unspecified projects the money could fund.
Among the projects: constructing and buying land for public parking; erecting and buying city buildings; buying land for parks and public playgrounds; and buying firefighting equipment.
The ad also says the money could be used for paving streets and for repairing, improving and extending sanitary, storm and drainage systems.
Skipper said approving the loan wouldn't mean the city wants or needs to use all of the money at once.
The city recently funded a few projects where it could have used this type of loan, Skipper said. He said the city authorized "some water and sewer projects that have taken a while to get the traditional bonds."
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.

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