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LCDA adopts $8M budget for 2019
Authority OKs tax abatement for solar farm
The Liberty County Development Authority has adopted an $8.5 million general fund budget for its next fiscal year. Budget discussions last month included the need for disaster plans for all LCDA properties and possible replacement of the authority’s 2008 Suburban SUV, which has 150,000 miles on it.
The LCDA automatically receives 2 mills of property tax for its operations.
One immediate visible sign of the authority’s actions will be the return of LCDA staffer Diana Reid to the reception desk in the lobby of the authority building at 425 W. Oglethorpe Highway. The large lobby had been unmanned for several years, but Reid will now be present to greet and direct visitors.
The authority has granted a 20-year graduated tax abatement on 32 acres of land in Riceboro to be used for a solar power project by SolAmerica Energy. The company is investing almost $2 million in the project.
The 32-acre farm is on 775 acres owned by M.F. Martin III and will be more than 2,000 feet from any highway or public road. It is near the intersection of U.S. Highway 17 and the E.B. Cooper Highway.
Power generating solar modules will be on 20 acres of the 32-acre project; the remaining 12 acres will be a buffer of existing hardwood and pine trees.
According to the application from SolAmerica, 800 solar modules will be installed, each one measuring 3-feet-by-6-feet and 6-feet high. Depending on sunlight, the project should produce electricity five or six hours daily. The plant operates 24 hours a day and produces a noise level of about 40-60 decibels. SolAmerica says this is slightly louder than a person’s normal talking volume.
Once constructed, the solar farm will not produce any jobs except to have a worker occasionally mow or bush hog the area.
The Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission is working on a model ordinance to allow solar farms. One concern is what happens to the facility after its 20-30 year lifespan.
Decommissioning is a concern and officials want to follow those jurisdictions that require decommissioning and restoration of sites. Some governments require the posting of a bond to guarantee decommissioning rules are followed.

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