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Lafayette County moves forward with $20M bond to help pay for two new roads in Oxford

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved an intent resolution Tuesday to issue up to a $20 million bond for road and building projects that could mean another 1 mill increase for county residents next year.

Financial adviser Demery Grubbs and Sue Fairbank with Butler Snow Law Firm requested permission from the board to adopt the intent resolution to issue the bond that will help pay for two new roads — Oxford Loop and Sisk Avenue extensions — and the new Lafayette County Office Park on County Road 406.

In anticipation of the new roads, the supervisors approved a 1 mill increase last summer for this year.

Fairbank told the supervisors the intent resolution does not bind the supervisors to spend the full $20 million.

The next step is advertising the intent resolution, giving the public time to comment or object, and then Fairbanks and Grubbs will return to the supervisors on March 20 to adopt the final resolution for the bond.

Supervisor Chad McLarty said if the county does have to spend the full $20 million, there will likely be another millage increase next year.

“Lafayette County greatly needs these projects,” he said at the board’s regular meeting. “I’m not a big fan of borrowing a lot of money, but this is the right step.”

The board unanimously approved to adopt the intent resolution.

Projects detailed

West Oxford Loop will be extended to join with Old Sardis Road and Sisk Avenue will eventually be extended to join University Avenue. The county and city of Oxford are sharing costs for the Oxford Loop extension and the Sisk Avenue extension for approximately $7 million each and the state has included another $3 million for the projects.

With the Mississippi Department of Transportation purchasing county property for the Highway 7 expansion, county officials needed to relocate several agencies, including the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Department of Human Services, and Child Protective Services. Officials have also decided to relocate the WIN Job Center and the county coroner office and have partnered with the city of Oxford for a new justice court and municipal court facility. The plan also calls for a transit station to allow bus commuters to access the facility. Future development includes a multi-purpose facility, as well as an amphitheater and three-plus acre pond.

Also on Tuesday, the board approved hiring Koehn Construction from Alabama to begin grading the site on CR 406. Koehn was the low bidder at $667,595. Companies submitted base bids to remove the timber and do the dirt work, along with three alternate bids on removing the trees by either burning, hauling it off or mulching on site. The highest bid came in at $1.2 million. Fourteen construction companies bid on the project.

Supervisor Kevin Frye said because the site is close to city limits and a neighborhood, he didn’t feel burning would be the best option and made a motion to hire Koehn Construction using Alternate 3, and requiring the timber to be mulched on site. The board unanimously voted in favor of the motion.