The Liberty County Development Authority voted Monday to recommend county leaders consider adding two road-improvement projects and a water-and-sewer project to the next special-purpose local-option sales tax referendum, which will go to voters for approval in November.
SPLOST is a 1 percent sales tax collected by local city and county governments to help fund capital projects such as the new Liberty County Community Complex that opened late last November in Midway and the Liberty County Justice Center that opened its doors in 2011. SPLOST funds also can be used for water and sewer systems, such as the $250,000 the county put toward a rural water system under construction for Holmestown-Screven Fork area residents, and for detention and public-safety facilities and downtown development, according to the Georgia Municipal Association website.
Representatives from the county and Liberty’s municipalities will meet this spring to discuss SPLOST projects, Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown said. He confirmed collections for a new SPLOST — should voters approve it this fall — would begin in May 2015. A SPLOST round typically lasts five or six years, depending on the types of projects chosen to be funded, Brown said.
The authority wants to pave 3,500 linear feet of road in the Tradeport Business Center, thus providing better access to undeveloped tracts of land for future development, at an estimated cost of $1.2 million. The LCDA also wants to improve the existing roads in Midway Industrial Park at an estimated cost of $250,000.
In addition, the authority hopes to acquire $1.4 million in SPLOST funds to install an elevated water tank in the Tradeport Business Center.
Development authority CEO Ron Tolley told authority board members once the roads in the Midway Industrial Park are repaired, the authority then could transfer ownership of the roads over to the county. At a Liberty County Board of Commissioners’ Jan. 7 meeting, the county accepted the development authority’s dedication of three roads in Tradeport East industrial park: Sunbury Road extension, Tradeport Boulevard and Dunwoody Court.
Tolley said that if the authority already had the road extended and an elevated tank installed in the business center, those improvements might have sealed a deal during a potential corporate client’s recent site search.
He said this unnamed corporation visited 80 sites in a number of states, and the LCDA made the prospective tenant’s final three sites, which were in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Tolley said each state offered the corporation incentives, and the manufacturer ultimately decided to locate in Nashville, Tenn.
In other authority business, LCDA Director of Finance and Administration Carmen Cole told authority members the organization held the line on expenditures for November 2013. And the entity’s CPA firm of Thigpen, Lanier, Westerfield & Deal informed the authority it did a fairly good job of continuing to pay down its debt during a four-month period that ended Oct. 31, 2013.
Tolley also asked authority members to nominate an individual to represent the LCDA on the Savannah World Trade Center advisory board at next month’s meeting.