County's line of credit proposal a good deal
Feb. 17, 2002
Signing a petition gives an individual a voice in their government and circulating petitions is a good way to stimulate debate on a public issue. Those are constructive to the cause of good government.
But in the case of a $5 million line of credit proposal put forth by the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, signing a petition may also signal delays or outright abandonment of some pressing county needs. In that, we, the people, still have a choice.
Lauderdale County supervisors have been upfront in their identification of $8.3 million in critical spending needs. Obviously, all of these needs cannot be met with a $5 million line of credit, but the list as announced at a public meeting and published in the newspaper contains worthy items. From our own analysis and discussions with county officials, there is no question the needs are real. The money isn't in the budget now to accommodate the needs and the most logical solution is to obtain funding at the lowest possible cost.
A line of credit with a 2.95 percent interest arrangement through the Mississippi Development Bank, given the circumstances, is a good deal that over the long run should save taxpayers' money. The money can help meet these pressing needs immediately.
If the current petition drive is successful in calling an election, the vote has to be held concurrently with the next general election. That comes in November. The money available through the line of credit will be gone by then, taken by other forward-thinking cities and counties in Mississippi that see the value.
Signing a petition is a deeply personal and political decision that should be reached only after looking inward, asking ourselves such questions as what do we want our community to become and what is the best course to take us there. After a great deal of such soul-searching, The Meridian Star believes the timing of an election in this case would effectively kill a good plan to fund pressing needs in Lauderdale County.