Meridian Star

Local News

February 20, 2013

Supervisors approve grant match for task force

MERIDIAN —     A joint task force between the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department and the Meridian Police Department will continue in part due to help from a state grant.

    Sheriff Billy Sollie asked the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday for matching funds for a Department of Public Safety grant of $189,123.

    The grant, which is a 75/25 percent match, helps fund the East Mississippi Drug Task Force, of which the MPD and the Lauderdale Sheriff's Department are members.

    The 25 percent that must be matched is $47,280. Split two ways between the city and county, the match will be for $23,640 each.

    "We have made application, for many many years through the Department of Safety to provide us with funding to help our East Mississippi Drug Task Force," Sollie said. "It helps cover the salaries of some of the officers, not all of them on the Task Force."

    The task force, organized in 1992, Sollie said, is comprised of three city police officers and six county deputies who investigate crimes related to narcotics.

    The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the grant match request.

    In other business, District 2 Supervisor Wayman Newell said the recent trip to Washington D.C. to seek funds for Lauderdale County went well. Newell, along with District 3 supervisor Josh Todd, county attorney Rick Barry, county administrator Joe McCraney, and EMBDC president Wade Jones met with Mississippi senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, as well as Gregg Harper, 3rd Congressional District representative.

    "The main thing on my agenda was an entrance and exit at the Central Industrial Park. There's only one way in and one way out," Newell said. "All that traffic has to come out at the busiest intersection in Lauderdale County."

    Newell asked Harper, Cochran, and Wicker about funding for the project. He said building an interchange there would aid in industrial development and would also improve safety. The length would be approximately eight-tenths of a mile and would route traffic to Jimmie Rodgers Parkway.

    Traffic out of Central Industrial Park currently comes back down to Hawkin's Crossing and into Interstate 20/59, and Highway 19, he said.

    "You certainly have to plant the seed before something can start to grow," Newell said. "I thought we had a mighty good trip."

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