CATEGORY: SUP Lee Board of SupervisorsMOULDE

HED: Lee supervisors eye industrial road loan

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

Lee County supervisors may borrow $275,000 to build a road for prospective new industries at Tupelo-Lee Industrial Park South near Verona.

Board members voted their intent Monday to borrow the funds from the state Department of Economic and Community Development's low-interest capital improvement loan program.

The county can borrow up to $1 million a year under the program. The loan would be paid back over 15 years. The current interest rate is about 3.5 percent, County Administrator Ronnie Bell said.

Monday's action did not lock the board into completing the loan and officials said a final decision will await word from companies eying two sites in the industrial park.

Plans call for a gravel surface of about one-half mile of four-lane roadway and 120-feet of two-lane road, plus drainage. Total cost was estimated at $300,000, including engineering services.

The county would look at fully surfacing the road, perhaps with grant money, if prospects for industrial development pan out. The businesses are being wooed by the Community Development Foundation.

"It's not a done deal on the industries yet, but (CDF) needed some kind of commitment on the road," Bell said.

"This is basically getting you a roughed-in gravel road with drainage in hopes we can get some grant money in the spring (to pave the road)," Bell said.

"You've got a couple of sites you're looking at that it will open up. If they (the industries) don't come through you don't have to go any further," he said.

Supervisors endorsed the road plan, but raised a question over whether the county should borrow money or use reserve funds.

"I believe that this is the best way to go so we don't get in a tight," District 2 Supervisor Everett Swann said of the loan proposal.

In other action, the board set a Nov. 5 public hearing on the progress of three industrial infrastructure projects being funded through Community Development Block Grants.

The hearing will involve work in behalf of the Berkline Corp. and the AL-KO Kober Corp. in the North Lee Industrial Park near Baldwyn, and Aircap/MTD near Verona. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m.

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