Commissioners consider infrastructure funding, tax collection

Published 12:24 pm Thursday, March 16, 2023

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Lowndes County Commissioners met on Monday, hearing updates on infrastructure funding opportunities as well as progress for collecting 2022 taxes owed by SABIC in Burkeville.

William Scott, senior consultant with Tristaz, told commissioners that the American Rescue Plan of 2021 provides for grants to fund projects the county could accomplish to improve infrastructure systems.

“We’ve been researching for the last six months and we found different resources,” Scott said. “We’re going to look at working with the planning commission and other agencies to help you with development of [the programs.] We wanted to have something that is all inclusive so that you know before opportunities come.

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“The biggest thing that always hindered us [before] is that we didn’t know about funding until the last minute and we were scrambling, always missing opportunities because no one was facilitating information down to us.”

Scott provided commissioners with a detailed plan, including photos of potential projects, like electric vehicle charging stations, shopping centers, gas stations, and road work drainage, among others.

“Any project you want to do, just write up where it is located, type it is and who do we need to pull to the table that could possibly help us,” Scott said.

In addition, commissioners heard questions from Burkeville citizen Barbara Evans, who asked for progress on collecting unpaid taxes owed by SABIC’s Burkeville operation at the end of 2022.

“In 2022 I attended, with some other people in my neighborhood, a meeting at SABOC because we wanted to know what was the deal with taxes,” Evans said. “They did say taxes would start the next year, which is now this year. Where are we on those taxes?”

Commission Chairman Charlie King, Jr. told Evans commissioners thinks the taxes will be collected soon, hopefully before the week is out. 

Tax Collector Roslyn Smith has been working toward collecting the taxes. Commissioner Dickson Farrior said he believed the situation was nearing resolution.

“I feel like we are close to getting the problem worked out,” Farrior said. “There is a process the tax collector goes through and she is going through that now.”

In other business, the commission:

  • Heard a citizen’s complaint from Barbara Evans regarding the continuation of bonfires, alleged illegal drinking, boisterous and offensive conduct,  and noise disturbance in residential areas of the county;
  • Received reports from Enforcement Officers Larry Adams and Emma Harris regarding mobile home decals and enrolling residents for garbage collection;
  • Reviewed road work reports from County Engineer David Butts and discussed employee retention in the department; and 
  • Appropriated $2,500 to The Calhoun School to support the Third Annual Blackbelt Invitational scheduled for April 13.