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Oktibbeha County exploring bond issue for road paving

 

Tim Pratt

 

The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a motion to put a $10 million bond issue for road improvements on the November ballot, but the motion then failed when one member of the board changed his vote. 

 

District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer made the motion to include a referendum on a $10 million bond issue in the November election and the motion passed 3-2, with Trainer, District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard and District 1 Supervisor Carl Clardy voting in favor, while District 4 Supervisor Daniel Jackson and District 5 Supervisor John Young voted against it. Clardy then changed his vote and instead opposed the motion for a referendum, so the motion failed.  

 

Clardy said he wants to meet first with the county''s finance department, county Chief Administrative Officer Don Posey, new road manager Vic Collins and the rest of the board to explore whether the county could issue $10 million in bonds without raising millage. Trainer said he already has talked with the finance department and believes it''s possible, but Clardy wasn''t convinced and said he was "scared" to hold a referendum without first sitting down with the county''s financial officers and other officials. 

 

Howard also said he would like to further study the county''s finances before committing to a referendum and bond issue.  

 

"I would like us to set up a work session ... so we can go before the voters with a straight face and say we can do this without any increase in millage," Howard said. 

 

The board and Trainer did agree, however, not to pursue a bond issue if it would cause an increase in millage. 

 

Trainer was frustrated, saying he felt like the only supervisor making an effort to pave the county''s vast network of gravel roads. He also was upset because he felt the board put the $27.5 million Oktibbeha County Hospital bond issue on the November 2008 ballot without studying the county''s finances as in-depth as his fellow supervisors want to now for the potential road bond issue. 

 

If the road bond issue does go to a referendum, Trainer is confident the citizens of Oktibbeha County will approve it. 

 

"You all are going to be surprised when you hear what folks have to say," Trainer said.  

 

Supervisors did not set a date for a work session. The board''s next meeting is scheduled for July 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the Oktibbeha County Courthouse boardroom.

 

 

 

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