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Lincoln County considers $5M bond for infrastructure

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors are looking into the ins and outs of issuing $5 million in general obligation bonds for a road and bridge rehabilitation project.

Supervisors Monday heard from attorney Jim Young Jr. on what the steps will be if they adopt a resolution to sell bonds to raise the money to pay for infrastructure needs.

They’ll have a planning meeting Monday at 9 a.m. in the boardroom to hear from county engineer Ryan Holmes on what the scope of the project should be.

Young told the board they should have an idea of what they’ll use the money for, but they don’t need every specific item named. After the board adopts the resolution, it must be published once a week for three weeks in The Daily Leader to allow the public a chance to be notified of the board’s intent.

The resolution should be for the max amount the board plans to borrow, he said, but “doesn’t lock you in” to that amount as long as the board doesn’t go over it.

Young said the projects listed can be changed and updated if needed. He said the list could be over inclusive. He called it a “wish list” for supervisors.

He said the board should consider both a bank and an an underwriter and choose whoever will give them the best deal. A bank may not have the better rate, but won’t charge all the fees associated with an underwriter, he said.

“Those are things you need to be thinking about,” he said.

He also said the board should know how it plans to pay the money back — road funds or ad valorem taxes. He suggested they look at outstanding bonds to see what the payoff is.

District 3 Supervisor Nolan Williamson is concerned that many bridges in Lincoln County could be closed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation after its annual bridge inspections are completed. They’ll start in August and inspect bridges through January. They’ll inspect bridges by following the schedule of the previous year, Holmes said.

But MDOT can close a bridge before the reports are completed in January if they deem it unsafe. It could be closed the day of the inspection, he said.

Williamson wants to get some of the worse bridges repaired as soon as possible. He said the county can’t wait for funds from the state.

“We’re not going to sit here and let all this infrastructure collapse,” he said.

Young agreed.

“No pun intended, but y’all are where the rubber meets the road,” he said.

“I have some I need done, like yesterday,” District 1 Supervisor Jerry Wilson said.

Holmes said the board will determine Monday which projects to address first by dividing the bridges into a good pile and a bad pile.

“It’s going to be easy to make a list,” he said. “There’s no speculation on what bridges are bad.”