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Street repairs: Study, then borrow? Or borrow, then study?

Leaders of a city in eastern Mississippi are debating how to pay for street paving and other infrastructure projects.

Meridian public works director Hugh Smith is looking for city leaders to approve $12 million in bonds, the Meridian Star reported..

“Right now, we don’t have funds in place to do any paving next year,” Smith said Tuesday.

Leaders have discussed conducting a study of Meridian’s streets.

“Based on the condition of the street, you select the best technology or method to extend the life of that,” Smith said.

Councilman George Thomas said he’s doesn’t think the city should on debt until that study is complete.

“I don’t want to borrow money, then decide how to spend it,” Thomas said. “I want to decide how to spend it, then borrow the money.”

Mayor Percy Bland told the city council he did not think the study had to come first.

“The bottom line is, we need the funding source,” Bland said.

One source of money for infrastructure improvements could be Mississippi’s new internet sales tax, which can only be used for roads, bridges, water and sewers, according to Nnamdi Thompson of Government Consultants, Inc.

Meridian has already received half of about $336,000 expected to come from the tax this year, Thompson said.


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