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County expects $500,000 for govt. complex repairs

Lincoln County Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop kept a fan on inhis office to provide a little circulation as the governmentcomplex’s air conditioning unit wasn’t quite up to the taskTuesday.

Officials in other county and city offices also have had toendure a sluggish air conditioning unit over the years. Help,though, is one the way in the form of $500,000 in federal fundingfollowing a county officials’ trip to Washington earlier thisyear.

Bishop said the county had received assurances that the funds,through Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, are inthe pipeline for a courthouse repair project. He said the money,which requires no local match, will be for roof work, repairs andother projects at the over 20-year-old complex.

“We’re also going to have to do some air conditioning work,”Bishop said.

Bishop was uncertain when the funds would be available. He saidthe county has yet to get a cost estimate for the project.

“We’ve got to complete the engineering work,” Bishop said.

A spokesperson for Sen. Thad Cochran’s office said the funds hadbeen approved by the Appropriations Committee and the bill nowheaded to the full Senate for a vote. The VA-HUD bill was one ofseveral recently approved by the committee.

A time for the Senate vote has not be set. Once the bill hasbeen conferenced and approved by both the Senate and the House, itwill go to the president for his signature.

The funds mean things are “looking up” for the county, saidSupervisors President Nolan Earl Williamson.

“That’s great. That’s money we don’t have,” Williamson said.

Williamson, Bishop, County Administrator David Fields and CountyEngineer Carl Ray Furr made the July trip to Washington. The countycontingent meet with staffs of U.S. Sens. Cochran and Trent Lottand Third District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering.

The repair work also be good news for Tommie Sanders, thegovernment complex’s maintenance supervisor. He said something’salways happening and work can pile up quickly.

“As long as you stay on top of it, it’s not bad,” Sanderssaid.

Sanders said he tries to do as much preventive maintenance aspossible. Roof-related work, however, keeps him pretty busy.

“The roof leaking is the major problem,” Sanders said. “Any timeyou put in new tiles, they get soaked after a rain.”

Government complex repairs were one of several items on countyofficials’ trip agenda. Bishop hoped the repairs funds were thefirst in a line of successes.

“We’ve still got a couple of projects we’re waiting to hear on,”Bishop said.

Other projects include funds for renovation of the county-ownedBoys and Girls Club building, a Bogue Chitto community center andextension of a new road through the Homochitto National Forest. Thecounty has already received $2 million for the forest road and anyadditional money would take the road north of Highway 550 nearCaseyville.

“The board of supervisors has committed to petitioning thefederal government for help with individual projects every year,”Bishop said.

Bishop said it is a “pretty fair trade” when the county canspend several thousand dollars for a trip to Washington and thenget $500,000 for an important county project. He said the tripshelp local officials develop relationships with congressionalmembers and their staffs.

“That’s what we’ve done, and that’s what we’re continuing todo,” Bishop said.