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County moves forward in Powersite project

March 4, 2013

With no opposition heard, the Clay County Board of Supervisors moved forward Monday with the next phase of its economic development project through which the county hopes hundreds of jobs will land in Clay County.
Last month the board heard from Gordon Flowers, Chairman of the Golden Triangle Development LINK, who requested that the board ready themselves to issue bonds in the event that a major industry decided to locate to Clay County.
Since that time the board advertised four times for a public hearing on the request, and the public hearing was held Monday with no public attendants except for media representatives. Since there was no opposition to the proposal from the public, District 3 Supervisor R.B. Davis made a motion to begin the process of issuing up to $10 million in bonds for development of the Prairie Belt Powersite in northern Clay County. The motion was seconded by District 2 Supervisor Luke Lummus and passed unanimously.
No bonds have been issued as of now, and the action by the board only gives authorization for the LINK to begin the paperwork. Bonds will not be issued unless and until a new industry opportunity presents itself to the county.
Before the motion was made the board was re-briefed on the bond issuance proposal by Ron Maloney, Clay County Economic Developer.
“The success that we have seen economically here throughout the region, Clay County is now a part of it,” Maloney said. “That’s partly because we’re proactive in not reactive. We requested this bond issuance (to have) the ability to be able to move quickly and concisely when an opportunity comes...Instead of being 90 days behind and chasing, we’re actually ahead and can show and demonstrate to whatever company that is that this county is able to do what it says it’s going to do and do it quickly.”
Once they’re issued, the $10 million in bonds 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 last month that 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.”

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