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County seeks federal help with projects

Federal funding assistance for building and road improvementsand a new industrial park will be the focus this week as a group ofLincoln County officials travel to Washington to meet with thestate’s Congressional delegation.

Board President and District 3 Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamson,Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop, County Administrator David Fieldsand County Engineer Carl Ray Furr are scheduled to make thetrip.

“We’ll leave Wednesday and be back Friday,” Bishop said.

The county contingent has lined up meetings with Sens. ThadCochran and Trent Lott and Third District Rep. Chip Pickering andtheir staffs. County officials will be asking for funding helptotaling approximately $1.5 million for four county projects.

Building renovations for the government complex and the Boys andGirls Club are on officials’ to-do list. Roof repairs are needed onboth buildings, and club officials are pursuing an expansion aspart of a Competitive Community Program project.

“It’s a county-owned building,” Bishop said of the Boys andGirls Club facility.

County officials are seeking $500,000 for each of thebuildings.

Furr said another $500,000 will be sought for additional work ona road through the Homochitto National Forest. The county hasalready received $2 million to pave the Eddiceton-Caseyville Roadbetween Highway 84 in Franklin County and Highway 550 in LincolnCounty.

Furr said extra money is needed to pave an approximatelyhalf-mile section north of Highway 550.

“It’s never been paved,” Furr said. “It’s in the nationalforest.”

Federal help with a portion of the new Industrial Park is also apossibility.

Furr said there are two or three potential sources to offsetlocal money that would be contributed to the project. He emphasizedthe federal funds would have to be targeted for infrastructureneeds.

“You can’t buy any land with federal money,” Furr said.

To help Lincoln and other counties, officials will also betalking up changes to a federal transportation funding bill. Furrsaid the timing is right as the bill that determines funding forstates and local communities is currently before lawmakers.

“We’re going to lobby extensively for more funding to ruralareas,” Furr said. “We need to increase our federalallocation.”