Meridian Star

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February 12, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

MERIDIAN — Let us not forget Lee  

    It is very important that we do not forget the heroes and patriots of this land in which we live.                                                                                                

    Robert Edward Lee was born on January 19,1807, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, son of  General "Light Horse " Harry Lee, one of Washington's best Generals in the American Revolution. Robert E. Lee was a career military officer, Superintendent at West Point, and obvious choice to command the Union army when The War Between The States was inevitable. When offered the position by Lincoln, could not bring himself to take up arms against his family, friends, and native country.                                                                          

    Notwithstanding his extraordinary military achievements, Lee, the man, was the perfect example of duty, honor,and faith in God. His character was unquestionable. His remaining years after the War were spent as the president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee College ) in Lexington, Virginia. Lee was, and still is, revered and respected by the people of the North as well as the South.

Scott McQuaig


A letter regarding

the Meridian Law

Enforcement Center

    There has been a lot of discussion over the past few weeks regarding the Meridian Law Enforcement Center. It’s time to set the record straight.

    We had to use innovative financing. During the past administration, six million dollars in bonds meant for a new police station was spent on the recently completed city hall renovation. To build a new police station, we had to look at alternative funding.

    We chose a lease-purchase option for several reasons, primarily because of zero impact on city bonding capacity and because the city does not pay anything until we move in—avoiding another “city hall project”.

    It is our duty as public servants to be responsible with tax dollars. We face three issues.

    We absolutely must build a new police station.

    We greatly need to repair roads and drainage.

    We have to be very careful with our bonding capacity.

    Bonding capacity is a limited resource. Think of a bond as a municipal loan. Bonding capacity is similar to a credit limit. Essentially, it's how much you can borrow. With any limited resource, we have to make the best possible decisions on how and when to use it. Citizens make these types of decisions every day at home, from buying school supplies to groceries to clothing. We must make the same kind of decisions with government resources.

    Public servants, more so than anyone else, must be especially dutiful with these decisions. At home or in business, these decisions are made with private dollars. In the public sector, these decisions are made with tax dollars—your dollars.

    The new police station and the infrastructure repairs are not options. They must be done. The core issue then becomes how to pay for it with what we have on the table.

    We made a decision to use our bonding capacity for roads and drainage, and to use a lease-purchase agreement for the police station. We use no bonding capacity for the Meridian Law Enforcement Center.

    The financing was delayed due to an unforeseen hold-up with new market tax credits, which are an important aspect of the project’s funding.

    The original closing date for the tax credits was expected to be mid-December. The date has been pushed back due to issues with the many moving parts involved with tax credits. Because of the financial structure of the project, the delay costs the citizens nothing. Until we move in, all of the costs are the responsibility of the developer.

    There are many moving parts in this project. Any one of them can throw off the completion date. And one did. That was the very reason it was vital for us to negotiate that the City of Meridian would not spend any money until the Meridian Police Department moves into the Meridian Law Enforcement Center.

    Our deepest regret is that this delay prevents our police officers from getting a fully functional work environment.

    That day is coming. Perhaps not as soon as we would like, but it is coming. In 2012, we will have more paved roads, improved drainage, and a new police station—all without raising taxes.

Cheri Barry

Mayor, City of Meridian

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