GAINESVILLE - With one dissenting vote, Hall County Commissioners Thursday approved providing water, sewer and road paving for the county's newest and biggest planned industrial park on Highway 365 in the northeastern part of the county.
Chamber Industrial Development Vice President Tim Evans said the park, located just north of White Suplhur Road, holds big promise with its 23 sites on a 500-plus acre tract, potentially 4,000 jobs and a $1-billion private investment once the park is full. Chairman Tom Oliver made the motion.
"This is just taking Hall County to a place where it's been wanting to go for years," Oliver said.
Development Authority attorney Tred Syfan told commissioners the county would need to underwrite the project to get the state's new $14-million poultry lab to locate there. Craig Lutz was opposed.
"This basically has the county funding everything that's going to be built as far as infrastructure out there," Lutz said.
Vice Commission Chairman Billy Powell said the selling point on the project was that the county gets paid back and the money goes back into SPLOST VI.
"Even though we're using that pool of money, it's coming back to us and will be replenished as soon as the lot sales are made," Powell said.
Scott Gibbs said he felt as a commissioner he needed to participate in economic development.
"With every tax dollar that's collected industry, 80 cents is spent providing services for the industry," Gibbs said. "With every dollar in a house that's collected, $1.20 is spent to provide services to that house. I think to keep taxes low for citizens we have to encourage development and jobs."
"This would be a lead-off hit for us," Evans said, speaking of the poultry lab.
The state committed to relocate the laboratory, currently in Oakwood, to the new park on Highway 365. Commissioners signed off on agreements with the Gainesville-Hall County Development Authority and the State of Georgia on behalf of the Poultry Lab.
SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL RATES GOING UP
It's going to cost more to dump your trash if you live in the county.
Hall Commissioners voted to increase the solid waste fee to support operational cost increases. The annual fee will go from $50 to $75,effective with the 2012 tax bill. (Note: 2012 is a correction from information provided earlier by the county stating that the increase would go into effect in 2013.)
Commissioner Lutz said the fee hike was premature. Public Works Director Ken Reardon said this is the first increase since 1999; The fee hike narrowly passed, 3-2, with opposition from Lutz and Ashley Bell.