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Supervisors discuss potential $13M bond for future projects

There are several major projects in the works in Lafayette County, and the Board of Supervisors is weighing all options to make sure they can afford them all.

During a special meeting on Wednesday, the Board discussed the possibility of issuing a $13 million bond that would help cover costs with an infrastructure project and the renovation project for the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department.

If the bond is issued, it would create a 1.63 millage increase in Lafayette County, bringing the county’s millage rate to 38.61. Lafayette County’s millage rate has stayed at 36.98 since 2017.

The 1.63 mill increase would cost homeowners in Lafayette County $16.30 per $100,000 of their property’s assessed value.

“I don’t think anyone on this board is real hungry about raising taxes, but I do think everybody on this board is committed to law enforcement, first responders and infrastructure,” said Board president Mike Roberts. “I think we’ve seen that and said it and shown that those are needs that this county, by all means, are conducive to needing.”

The largest portion of the bond would go to the second phase of the West Oxford Loop Extended project, which will connect it from Old Sardis Road to Industrial Park Drive, bridging West Jackson Avenue to Highway 7.

Roughly $6 million of the potential bond would go towards this project, which Lafayette County is solely responsible for now after the City of Oxford voted against helping to fund the second phase.

Roberts said the Board is also planning to ask for some financial assistance from the Mississippi Legislature as a way to help pay for some of the project.

“Having that entire West Oxford Loop, next phase, on our shoulders versus dividing it between us and the city has changed where we have to go find money sources,” Roberts said.

The remainder of the bond funds would go toward renovating the Lafayette County Detention Center, the old Justice Court building and the old DHS building. The sheriff’s department is currently located at the detention center, but will eventually move its offices to the old DHS building. The old Justice Court building is being utilized as a training space for deputies and investigators.

Even if the bond was issued on Wednesday, County Administrator Lisa Carwyle said the renovations would take up to two or three years to complete.

With a three-percent interest rate used as an example, the Board would make yearly payments of $867,000 over a 20-year span to pay back the bond.