The Liberty County Development Authority on Monday approved a Georgia Department of Transportation request to purchase land on Airport Road — marking a step toward the board’s goal to liquidate non-industrial property.
However, the GDOT offer of $22,400 for a .329-acre acquisition is for right-of-way in the Airport Road widening project and will not be an entire purchase of the two parcels in the Hinesville Industrial Park that the board intends to divest.
In other property matters, the board approved land surveys and appraisals for some of the four properties it agreed during a September retreat to sell.
Of the four properties, Finance and Administration Director Carmen Cole said only one — a partial-acre on Highway 84 across from the Midway Industrial Park — requires surveying.
She presented two proposals for surveying, one from Fleming-based Jachens Land Surveying and the other from Brunswick-based Durand Land Surveying. Both companies offered the same timeline and a $350 survey fee for the single tract.
On Cole’s recommendation to engage local businesses, the board approved Jachens for the services.
As for land appraisals, Cole said the two parcels on Airport Road did not need appraisals because GDOT did so for its acquisition, but she said the Highway 84 plat and the 8 acres with Interstate-95 frontage need to be appraised.
The board approved two $1,200 appraisals by Islands Real Estate and Appraisal Company for the two properties. The other proposal the board considered was from The Gorman Group in Savannah, and the fee per appraisal was quoted between $2,500 and $3,000.
Before the Highway 84 property’s appraisal, however, the board asked Cole to seek rezoning from residential to a form of commercial zoning.
The board also approved a request from Target to extend tax abatements for an additional five-year period.
LCDA CEO Ron Tolley said when Target signed its lease, it was to have a 100 percent property-tax abatement for its first five years and then, in its sixth year, would move to no abatement.
“As the authority is aware, the past five years have been difficult for the Target facility, as the continued recession and less-than-stellar labor quality have impeded the productivity Target had hoped to achieve at the facility,” a memo to the board said.
The corporation, which has a distribution center in the Tradeport East Business Park, requested modifying the lease to allow for a gradual easing of abatements in which they would move from 100 percent in year five to 80 percent in year six, 60 percent in year seven, 40 percent in year eight, and 20 percent in years nine and 10.
Board member John McIver asked for the cumulative amount of taxes that would be forgiven under the agreement, and Tolley said it would be $493,000 over the five years.
Board member Robert Stokes asked whether there is any evidence that Target has been a community partner, and staff produced a list of schools and entities the company has supported with funds and volunteer time.
Present board members unanimously approved the request. Paul Krebs and Brian Smith were absent.