April 1, 2014 10:39:53 AM
Lowndes County supervisors set an April 30 public hearing date to hear from taxpayers on a proposed resolution that would give them authority to issue bonds for industrial development purposes if they felt it necessary.
Every two years for the last six years, they have adopted resolutions that gave them the option of issuing up to $30 million in bonds for infrastructure upgrades to potential industrial project sites. This would be an extension of the same resolution.
County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said the option has not been exercised in the last two cycles, but it's good to have in the county's back pocket. During their meeting Monday, supervisors were briefed by attorney Steve Edds of the Baker Donelson law firm, who said if the county would need to use their option in the next two years, it would likely result in long-term profit from additional industry generating revenue.
"This puts Mr. (Joe Max) Higgins and the (Golden Triangle Development) LINK in a position if a project comes your way ... to be able to tell that industrial prospect that you can make a contribution to their location here," Edds said. "The wonderful thing is when we've done this, the county has never had to repay a tax to levy this debt. It's always been paid through a fee-in-ileu. What Joe has done is add $10 million to your general fund. This is a way to put Joe ahead of the game."
Significant taxpayer opposition would necessitate a referendum, but one has not been required since supervisors began adopting the resolutions.
County hires from within to replace Thompson
Monday was county purchasing clerk Terry Thompson's last day after a six-year run in that role and a 30-year career working for Lowndes County and the city of Columbus. Supervisors approved Billingsley's request to promote assistant purchase clerk Gloria Blunt to Thompson's post at a rate of $17.55 an hour. Accounts payable clerk Diane Stephens will replace Blunt as assistant purchase clerk making $15.70 an hour.
In other business, the board:
■ Granted a property easement to Matt Fowler and George Hazard III;
■ Gave county engineer Bob Calvert permission to advertise for work on Old West Point Road;
■ Took a request from sustainable material manufacturing company CalStar for a 30-day construction extension under advisement. The company agreed to locate a facility in Lowndes County last year and is set to begin operations this summer. Once it is fully operational, it is expected to have anywhere from 58-100 employees.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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