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State of Hinesville discussed at PTP luncheon
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City of Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown and City Manager Kenneth Howard gave a brief update on the state of the City at the Dec. 10, Progress through People luncheon hosted by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Brown talked about implementing emergency protocols late March as the community and city responded to the emerging COVID-19 virus.

Brown said COVID caused a lot of uncertainty and city staff often worked late hours to discuss necessary changes to keep everyone safe. He said they moved events online including their council meetings and larger events like the Mayor’s Thanksgiving and the city’s tree lighting ceremony.

But he said the city has continued to grow.

“Through the pandemic our sales tax collection has actually increased,” Brown said. “I was surprised by that.”

Brown said the city collected 18 percent more than the year before. He said he hopes the Census numbers will reflect the growth.

Brown said that the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) is expected to generate 54 million in revenue county-wide.

He said T-SPLOST and other funds will give them the funds to start the Highway 84 widening project and also start the Ryon Avenue re-alignment project.

Brown spoke about the recent passage of the E-Commerce referendum, which he said, will allow the county to be highly competitive to recruit high caliber industry and retail to the area.

Brown mentioned how the city lost funds it expected to receive as part of the COVID relief funds. He said the city was set to receive three payments of 1.7 million each, but after receiving the first installment, the state decided to use the remaining funds for the state’s unemployment tax program.

Brown said the revitalization of Bradwell Park is slated to start as will the construction of the Hinesville Small Business Incubator (SBI). Howard said phase one of the project will start as early as January 2021.

Howard said the SBI will support first-time entrepreneurs, young companies, and support vendors. The building will house support services, financial resources, and technology infrastructure. The SBI is being funded by a grant from the Economic Development Agency in the amount of $750,000. He added they also have partnered with Georgia Southern University and has support from the Hinesville Development Authority. He said it will be located across from the current GSU-Liberty Campus facility.

Howard spoke about the recent Grounds Maintenance agreement between the city and Fort Stewart / Hunter Army Airfield. He said the contract was two years in the making and has the city taking over the lawn maintenance for most of the acreage of the installation - including areas classified as the improved, semi-improved, unimproved, airfields and cemeteries.

Some of the upcoming projects Howard mentioned was the construction of a New city fire station #1. The original station was built in 1970. The new building will provide the needed upgrades and is currently in the design stage. Howard said they bought the property immediately behind the current station on Liberty Street.

Howard said the city received $465,000 in grants to complete phase one of the American with Disabilities Act infrastructure improvements that were needed. The project includes 10 new bus shelters and 6 new sidewalks as well as improvements to several routes and the implementation of smaller buses.

Howard noted that the city has issued 113 new business licenses since March 16.




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