The Liberty County Development Authority is close to completing its delinquent report of finances for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2006, and has awarded a contract to help with yet-to-file historic preservation annual monitoring reports, the first of which was due in March 2006.
Carmen Cole, director of administration for the LCDA, says the financial report, required by the state Department of Community Affairs, cannot be finished without information on the bond issue the authority arranged for Target.
The company located a 1.5 million square-foot warehouse in Tradeport East, and the authority was authorized to issue up to $100 million in bonds to pay for development, site preparation, infrastructure and construction.
Cole said the necessary financial information had not been available from Target and she was seeking it from the Ryan Co. that built the warehouse.
Cole said the report could be completed very quickly online once the missing data is obtained. The development authority has never been late with the DCA report until this year.
The Georgia law mandating the financial reports from authorities and local governments requires the cutoff of state-appropriated DCA funds to bodies that are not in compliance. The authority says it has no DCA money currently in the pipeline that would be endangered by the delinquent reporting.
The monitoring report due each March is required by a four-party agreement among the authority, Liberty County, the State Historic Preservation Office of DNR and the federal Economic Development Administration of the Department of Commerce. It was signed in March 2005, by state and federal representatives, and Commission Chairman John McIver and LCDA CEO Ron Tolley.
Because of the recognized significance of the Sunbury Road and two archeological sites of interest on LCDA property, the EDA required the historical preservation agreement as a condition of the award of a $2 million grant.
The authority has apparently accepted a proposal from Brockington and Associates, historical preservation consultants, for $43,773 to preserve the Old Sunbury Road, provide public education and interpretation, and provide a report to the SHPO.
Tolley said Thursday Brockington expects to finish its work by July.
The EDA grant was announced with fanfare in Washington in 2005, with Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez saying the $2 million was expected to create 600 jobs and generate $85 million in private investment.
“President Bush and I are committed to partnering with communities to promote innovation and competitiveness,” Gutierrez said.
In reply to a query from the Courier about the absence of monitoring reports for two years, The Department of Commerce issued this statement:
“Prior to EDA’s disbursement of federal funds, the Liberty County Industrial Authority is required to provide evidence of compliance. Until such evidence satisfactory to EDA is provided, no federal funds have been or will be disbursed.”