McComb officials are edging closer to starting a street-paving campaign.

Financial adviser Larry Day of Daylight Capital Advisors in Ridgeland told board members at Tuesday’s work session that selling the proposed $3.2 million in bonds  for paving will be the next step in the process.

Bids of interest rates on the bonds will be opened Tuesday, and accepting one of the bids will lock the city into the sale of the bonds.

Day told the board at an earlier meeting that he had marketed the city’s bonds to a wider audience than previously entertained.

“We’ve had contact from a lot of bidders,” Day said. “I’m excited. I expect you’ll have a lot more bidders this time.”

One of the recent bond issues by the city garnered only one bid, from Trustmark Bank.

While the city is preparing to sell more bonds, a payment on the previous paving bond is coming due soon.

City Administrator Dirkland Smith said a $323,000 payment will come due near the end of February on the $3.2 million in bonds issued by the previous board in 2017.

He recommended the city hold off on paying that bill until after Feb. 10, when another month of sales tax returns will be remitted from the state.

The city borrowed $1.5 million from a capital improvement fund to cover general fund bills after auditor Tommy Lindley told board members that the city appeared to have less than $400,000 in reserve to cover bills in the last quarter of 2019.

The city must keep up with its current bills as well as pay back the capital improvement fund by Sept. 30.

The transfer from the capital improvment fund to the general fund was not completed until December, and Smith said no checks had bounced and no bills had gone unpaid.

However, Mayor Quordiniah Lockley said some restricted funds that were part of the general fund were mistakenly spent.

Concerning another road matter, Lockley said the city may have no choice but to take over the Gateway Industrial Park Road.

The board postponed action to do that in the last meeting after Selectman Ronnie Brock complained that the city “can’t maintain the streets we have now.”

Brock renewed that complaint during the work session, but Lockley presented the interlocal agreement on the road which spelled out that the county would build and pave the road, and the city would then take it over.

The mayor said he was trying to schedule a meeting with board of supervisors president Sam Hall, but “if (the board) doesn’t agree to a modification on the maintenance of the road, we’re stuck with it.”

Brock suggested perhaps the city and county could split maintenance of the road equally.

“Even 70/30 would be better than 100 to 0,” Lockley said.

Also concerning the industrial park, Pike County Economic District Executive Director Jill Busby presented copies of the city’s and county’s industrial property codes for comparison, with some annotations of her suggestions for how to merge the two together and standardize them.

“When prospects want to come and look at properties, we want to give them a copy of the rules” that don’t conflict, she said. “Then they can come and look, or they can move on, but we shouldn’t be in the position of making them move on because of conflicting information.”

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