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Lease renewals, clinics utility extension OKd
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In addition to hearing an audit report Monday, the Liberty County Development Authority approved multiple lease agreements, a timber harvest and an agreement to extend water lines for the east-end clinic.

The board first approved a request from Liberty Regional Medical Center CEO Scott Kroell to extend services to the hospital’s future clinic near Tradeport East Business Center at the LCDA’s expense.

According to LCDA director of finance and administration Carmen Cole, a private developer typically would have to pay for the necessary infrastructure and would be required to pay impact fees for tying into the system. The assessed impact fee for the estimated 2,500-square-foot clinic is $37,570.

But because the hospital authority is not a private enterprise and members of the LCDA board believe the clinic’s presence would benefit the community and its industrial holdings, the LCDA is willing to accept fiscal responsibility for extension of the utilities, LCDA CEO Ron Tolley said.

In exchange for the LCDA assuming that responsibility, the hospital authority will front the cost for the extension, which is a projected $58,120.75. The $37,570 that the hospital authority typically would pay to tie into the system instead will be applied toward the construction, and the LCDA will repay the remaining $22,550.75 to the hospital authority over five years with zero interest.

Cole said the infrastructure will run from Tradeport East along Highway 84 to the clinic, and its construction will be able to accommodate future tie-ins should development arise on the property between the two. Any impact fees for future tie-ins would offset the initial cost of construction.

The board also approved a second five-year lease with the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce for office space at a monthly rate that will graduate by $170 each year.

Previously, the chamber leased 1,296 square feet of dedicated office space in the LCDA’s office building on Highway 84 at the rate of $1,132 per month.

Tolley said that when the entities created the former lease agreement, the LCDA was offsetting some of the square-footage costs, and both had the understanding that the chamber’s rent would increase if the chamber elected to sign another lease for space.

In a meeting Monday before the LCDA board met, representatives from the chamber and the LCDA agreed on the plan, which gradually will increase the chamber’s rent and reduce the LCDA’s subsidy by the end of a five-year lease that took effect Thursday.

The chamber will pay $1,302 per month for the first 12 months. During the second year, the chamber will pay $1,472 per month; $1,642 during the third year; $1,812 during the fourth; and $1,982 during the fifth.

The board approved a similar request from Hinesville Technology Park tenant CTech Metal Finishing. Co-founder Fred Viggiano requested that the board extend his lease at the rate of $2,400 per month for the next 24 months.

Tolley recommended that the board authorize the request so the company can continue to grow and because it puts the LCDA in a better position than if the company were to leave.

The board also authorized timber manager David Johns to enter into negotiations with Beasley Hardwood Mills in Hazlehurst to sell hardwood from multiple pockets at Tradeport East and Tradeport West Business Center. According to Johns’ estimate, the sale should generate $200,000 in revenue.

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