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Board begins bond-issuance process for industry recruitment

February 4, 2013

The Clay County Board of Supervisors is taking the next step in the county’s goal of economic development growth by beginning the process of bond issuances in preparation for new industry to locate in Clay County.
Before unanimously approving the first phases of the process, the board heard Monday from Chairman of the Golden Triangle Development LINK Gordon Flowers, who advised the board that getting ready to issue bonds is the thing to do now so it won’t take long to receive funds that are needed for an industry project.
“Nothing is committed (right now),” Flowers said. “This is my take on it; I feel like if I were thinking about going on a trip this coming weekend I would want to put gas in my car, and if I got up on Saturday morning and wanted to go I would turn the key and go. This is like filling the tank up, being ready and if and when a project comes along Mr. (Joe Max) Higgins will be back before this board to get approval to move forward.”
Higgins, chief executive officer for the LINK, would then be able to commit to a project having the approval of the board.
Through the bond issuance process the board would have up to $10 million in bonds that will be used specifically for the Prairie Belt Powersite for things like sewer, water and other infrastructure services that are needed.
Robbie Robinson, member of the LINK Executive Committee, said the bonds must be used for a fee in lieu project, which is more than $100 million.
“These bonds will sit on the shelf for two years before they expire,” Robinson said. “If we get a $500 million project what that means for the West Point School District is approximately $1.5 million in ad valorem taxation money coming in off that project. So this would benefit not only the county but the school district.”
Flowers said since the bonds would be good for two years LINK representatives would come back from time to time asking the board to renew and continue the issuance.
Flowers said this procedure is the same that Lowndes County uses in planning economic development projects that have proven successful.
District 2 Supervisor Luke Lummus said, “This is a city/county joint venture. It’s just good, it’s exciting because it’s hard to get things when everybody is pulling in the (opposite) direction. This is a golden opportunity, and I thank the Lord it’s come our way.”
The county has not issued any bonds at this time and will only issue bonds once a major project is underway in the county.
Before bonds are issued the county must advertise four times for bond issuances and hold a public hearing March 4. After that the county will have everything lined up in the event that a new industry decides to relocate to Clay County and the board needs funds to meet the needs of that particular company.

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