- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Supreme Court has denied a challenge to a $3.2 million bond issue approved by the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors.

“We are pleased they ruled in our favor. That was the outcome we were hoping for,” Lauderdale County Administrator David Engel told The Meridian Star (https://bit.ly/1Kzy6ir ).

On April 1, 2013, the board approved a $14 million bond issue. A petition drive from those who wanted to put it to a county-wide vote failed when petitioners did not get enough valid signatures in the time allowed.

The board voted in August of 2013 to issue a $3.2 million bond of the total $14 million, but some citizens challenged the bond validation process in chancery court. A judge ruled for the county and objectors appealed to the Supreme Court.

Because the argument by those objecting to the $3.2 million portion of the bond issue was essentially the same as the argument against issuing the remaining $10.8 million, attorneys agreed to let the Supreme Court ruling, once issued, stand for both cases.

Rick Barry, an attorney representing the county in the case, said based on that stipulation the county should be able to move ahead with the entire $14 million bond issue.

The Supreme Court “put the message out there that the bond issue was validated and it was a good validation. The court sent a pretty clear message,” Barry said.

Stephen Wilson, representing the objectors, said no decision has been made on whether to ask the Supreme Court to rehear the case.

“We are disappointed supervisors fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep voters from being able to voice their opinion on this matter,” Wilson said.

The bond issue will fund recreational projects and improvements to the county courthouse, although it contains language that it could also fund roads and fire protection projects.

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Information from: The Meridian Star, https://www.meridianstar.com


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