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2010 review: Economic woes; crime rate grows

Lamar County was not spared in the economic crisis atmosphere of 2010. One of two banks here failed, a record number of home foreclosures were advertised, crime rose steadily as jobs grew scarce, and local schools and government services suffered from state and federal budget cuts. The comptroller of the currency closed First National Bank and named the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver. United Bank assumed the FNB’s assets, protecting local accounts and keeping employees at work. Armed robberies increased in the county, along with a rash of copper thefts from commercial, industrial and residential air conditioning units. Two people were murdered. The Lamar County commission struggled all year to meet expenses with a revenue shortfall of $1.5 million carried over from 2009. The county and school board budgets for 2011 were cut, and the county initiated separate fees for fire and medical services, generating a firestorm of citizen protests. Greenco Environmental was asked to leave the county when an odor problem at the composting site was not resolved, but several new commercial and industrial projects were in the works. At the last meeting of the year, the Lamar board of commissioners fired county administrator Wayne Patterson.

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