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Road bond won't go on ballot

August 16, 2010

A county supervisor’s last attempt to ask the public whether a road bond should be issued has failed after his colleagues gave him no support.
District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer, who has long advocated paving every road in the county, or, at minimum, further enhancing the road program, said that Monday was the last day the board could make a decision not to hold a referendum, but to simply poll the county with a simple question to appear on the November ballot: “Do you or do you not approve of Oktibbeha County issuing a $10 million bond to enhance road improvement throughout the county?”
Oktibbeha County currently operates on a four-year road plan, which is about a year behind due to rainy weather.
Trainer said he simply wanted to gauge public opinion.
“I want to do all I can to address their concerns,” he said, emphasizing that putting a question on the ballot would not bind the board to a decision.
“But I understand the nature of the beast,” he added, referring to the political nature of some decisions.
Board president Marvell Howard reminded Trainer of a private meeting with Garrard and county administrator Don Posey, where it was decided that a road bond of $10 million, which Trainer suggests as just a starting point, could not be issued without raising ad valorem taxes.
Trainer continued contesting that statement, arguing that the county can issue a $10 bond without raising taxes.
“Your motion dies for lack of a second,” Howard said, ending the discussion.
Explaining why he didn’t support Trainer’s motion, District 1 Supervisor Carl Clardy expressed concern for the finances in both this year’s and next year’s budget.
“Right now, I’m just worried to death about how people are going to pay their taxes,” he said.
Clardy supported the both the referendum and the $27.5 million bond to renovate the OCH Regional Medical Center, $21 million of which has already been issued.
The board recently received permission from the state to increase it’s bonding capacity so that it can issue the remaining $6 million.
“We’re trying to plant a seed here, and if you nurture that seed, it’ll grow,” Trainer said, explaining his attempt to put a poll on the November ballot.
“My job as a supervisor is to tell the public that we can do better than what we are doing.”
In other business, the county saved some dollars by awarding APAC, the lowest bidder, the task of overlaying 1.5 miles of Oktibbeha County Lake Road for $147,794, when the county originally estimated that the project would cost $183,033.

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