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County subsidizes project

Some local businesses have been asking area governments for help with a construction project in recent weeks, and the county got in on the act Monday night.

The Pike County Commission unanimously approved the purchase and donation of 360 feet of 36-inch metal pipe for the construction associated with a new railroad spur on the G&O railroad track near K&W Plastics and Wayne Farms. The companies had previously acquired help for the project from the City of Troy and came to the Pike County Commission seeking the pipe, which is worth approximately $6,000.

The pipe will be used to control drainage from runoff from the Henderson Highway, said Marsha Gaylard, head of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation.

One commissioner said that the companies should be able to afford their own pipe.

&uot;This is not in the budget,&uot; said Commissioner Charlie Harris. &uot;We keep telling people that we don't have any money, but when are we going to stop lying to our constituents about the financial situation of this county?&uot;

County Engineer Herbert Huner said the funds could come from the general county's road money, but confirmed that the county had not budgeted for this particular expenditure.

&uot;That's $6,000 that we might need later one day down the road,&uot; Harris said.

The commissioners also debated the future of the 1-cent sales tax that is currently devoted to funding education. In recent weeks, the commission has proposed submitting legislation to the state Legislature which would allow the county to hold a referendum on whether to give 25 percent of the sales tax funds to the county's general fund.

&uot;I think we should just extend the 1-cent tax for the schools and not have an election,&uot; said Commissioner Ray Goodson. &uot;The 75-25 split won't pass, in my opinion.&uot;

Commissioner Larry Meeks agreed that the tax, if put to a vote, would likely fail. He cited the recent overwhelming defeat of a sales tax proposal in Houston County.

&uot;The best thing we can do is just extend the tax at this time,&uot; he said.

The Pike County Commission will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. on March 17 to discuss the future of the 1-cent sales tax and whether, if extended, all of the funds should go to education. Also on that date, the commission will award bids for the new solid waste contract. The regularly scheduled March 10 meeting was cancelled.

Stephen Stetson can be reached at stephen.stetson @troymessenger.com.