The Liberty County Development Authority has approved issuance of $78 million in bonds to pay for improvements at Interstate Paper, one of the area’s largest employers.
About $68 million will go to pay for an upgrade of IP’s existing Riceboro linerboard mill. Another $10 million will be available for a new IP facility at Riceboro.
Bond counsel Jim Pannell and LCDA officials said the authority has no obligation to pay for the bonds.
“We are exculpated,” from liability with regard to the payments, authority CEO Ron Tolley said.
A date for Superior Court validation of the bond issue is expected to be set within two weeks and will be advertised in the Coastal Courier.
Also at its Friday meeting, the authority decided to allow the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Midway Museum to apply for Tourism Product Development grants that would list the authority as grantee.
The authority received an update on Ctech, a metal finishing business in the LCDA’s Hinesville Technology Park. According to an email from Ctech President Fred Viggiano and discussion, the company will resume making payments under its lease plan. Ctech owes the authority about $65,000 in past payments that were not made.
Work is being planned to repair the authority’s office at 425 W. Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville. The LCDA intends to lease office space left vacant after the chamber and CVB moved from the building into the historic Bacon-Fraser House.
The estimated cost of the work is more than $47,000, including new air conditioning units, replaced lighting, interior repair and painting, an upgraded audiovisual system and new indoor and outdoor signs.
These was a discussion of what kinds of tenants the authority might want to lease to.
Authority Director of Administration and Finance Carmen Cole said she has already had inquiries from people interested in the space. Tolley said he hopes tenants are found who supported the authority’s goals.
The authority discussed its plans to extend the Sunbury Road in Tradeport East. An LCDA committee has recommended a bid for preliminary work at a cost of more than $2 million. The committee said that only the one bid was responsive to the authority’s request for proposals.
The committee had not considered another lower bid because it had arrived four minutes after the specified closing time for bids.
The authority members decided to accept the late bid from Baker Constructors of Savannah because it was lower and otherwise complied with bidding rules. Authority member state Rep. Al Williams said, “If waiving those four minutes will save us a half million dollars, we will wave them.” Baker Constructor’s successful bid was for about $1.5 million.
The LCDA hopes to approve its annual budget for next year at a meeting June 26.