By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – With the retirement of a road and bridge bond passed in District Three in 1992, Supervisor M.H. “Butch” Surrette told his fellow board members he was ready to pass a new quarter-million dollar bond for his beat.
“With the assessed value increasing in the past 10 years as much as it has, and the interest rate as low as it is, what I would like to do today is have a notice of intent,” Surrette said at the “first Monday” meeting in Water Valley.
A notice of intent to issue general obligation road and bridge bonds is the first step in borrowing money, and is published on Page 7 in this week’s Herald.
“I talked with John (Crow) about it, two or three times this weekend, as most of you know I had a bond issue that was paid off this last year,” Surrette said.
“Your millage rate will stay the same?” District Five Supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman asked.
“Yes,” Surrette answered, explaining additional bond millage is already assessed to District Three taxpayers for the 1992 bond that was recently retired.
Surrette, now in his fifth term, told the Herald he has passed four road bonds since taking office. The last bond, totaling $185,000, was floated in 1992.
“It’s not a political thing with me. It is something I want to do,” Surrette told the Herald. “It is the right thing to do for the people that I serve, adding this would be his last term.
“I have never bought any equipment with bond issue – never paid salary out of bond issue,” Surrette said. “The money will be used strictly for road and bridge repair and related building materials.
“I don’t have many people left on gravel roads, I will take care of that with this bond issue,” Surrette also told the Herald.
“A lot of roads built with bond money needs maintaining, we need to keep the money flowing,” Surrette also said about the decision. Elaborating, the supervisors said that he had paved almost 40 miles of road since taking office, and at least 30 miles have been made using money from previous bonds.
“I have a big beat, I had a lot of gravel roads,” Surrette said about past and present decisions to float bonds.
“Butch wants to borrow $250,000. He can do so by passing a resolution giving the public a notice of intent to issue the bonds,” Board Attorney John Crow told supervisors following discussion about the issue.
Vaughn cast the sole dissenting vote, casting his lot against passing a resolution for the notice of intent and against hiring Crow and Jackson firm Butler Snow to administer the grant.
Vaughn told the Herald after the meeting he was not in favor of the county borrowing money, comparing the scenario to a credit card with a long-term payback. The bond will repaid in a 10 year period.
The public notice will be published four times, beginning Thursday.
“It gives the public the right to call an election on the question,” Crow said.
The matter can be brought to an election is 20 percent of qualified electors of the District, or 1,500, whichever is less, filed a written protest with the board clerk. The petition has to be filed on or before 9 a.m. on September 2. If a petition is filed, an election on the question of issuance of bond will be held.
(Webmaster’s note: In the print editon of the Herald, the headline for this story read Beat Five instead of Beat Three. We regret the error.)