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franklin county times

Mayor proposes borrowing $5M to pave streets

By Staff
PAVING PLANS Ward 5 Councilman Bobby Smith, left, and District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell discuss road paving plans for two of the proposed areas, Scruggs Road and Tanner Road, off of Highway 19 South. PHOTO BY PAULA MERRITT / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Nov. 17, 2002
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith plans to propose that the city borrow up to $5 million to pave city streets.
Smith said he plans to bring his proposal which includes borrowing the money by selling general obligation bonds before the Meridian City Council in "the near future."
Paving money
Smith's proposal comes a few weeks after city leaders finished a month-long battle over crafting its $86.6 million spending plan for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1 a budget that earmarked only about $160,000 for street paving.
Some city councilmen argued that more money was needed to pave and repair city streets. Ward 5 Councilman Bobby Smith was one of the most vocal.
Councilman Smith said he has "too many" roads in his ward that need to be fixed including some streets that have yet to be paved.
Mayor Smith said he will recommend to the council that they repair "the streets of greatest need."
If councilmen decide to borrow the money for the paving program, the work could start next spring, the mayor said.
Paying debt
Ed Skipper, Meridian's chief financial officer, said he's not sure if the city would have to raise taxes next year to pay off the $5 million loan.
Skipper said the city currently owes about $11 million in general obligation bond debt. City leaders last borrowed money using general obligation bonds in 2000, when they borrowed $1.1 million for street-related work, he said.
While city leaders worked on their proposal for the bond paving program, one councilman was working to see how he would spend part of the city's $160,000 budgeted this year for street paving.
Councilmen Smith said he and Ray Boswell, District 5 Lauderdale County supervisor, have agreed to work together to pave three dirt roads near Bonita Lakes inside the city: Tanner Road, Tanner Circle and Scruggs Road.
Those roads should be paved by the end of the year and will not be included in the bond issue paving program, Smith said.
In the agreement, the county will use its equipment and workers to pave the streets and contribute about $10,000 for asphalt. The city will use about $60,000 to buy the rest of the asphalt.
The agreements will have to be approved by both the Meridian City Council and the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors.

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