The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority voted last week to spend $35,000 to determine if it can run a sewer line from the eastern to the western part of its Gateway Technology Business Park on the southwest edge of Bogart
The $35,000 also is for design work if running the sewer line proves to be feasible.
Authority member Don Phillips also told the group he will be prepared by its next meeting in August to present costs for constructing a building or buildings from 10,000 to 50,000 square feet in size at the business park should the Authority wish to go in that direction.
Earlier in the meeting, J.R. Charles, Economic Development director for the county, told the group that businesses looking to locate in the county often turn away when they learn that no space already is available for them.
The Authority has had only limited success developing the Gateway business park, which it has owned since 2000.
|J.R. Charles 6/12/2017|
The roughly 100 acres that make up the park are split into four noncontiguous parcels, two small ones south of SR 316 and two large ones north of the highway.
The two larger tracts are separated by acreage that the Authority does not own but will have to be crossed by the proposed sewer line.
Alexion Pharma of New Haven, Conn., purchased 11 acres in the eastern parcel of the business park in late 2016 for a pharmaceutical production and research operation.
So far, that is the only successful sale of land in the business park.
Earlier this year Alexion terminated a contract for purchase of additional acreage.
The large, western parcel of the park does not have sewer service, and Authority member Wayne Bagley said at the June 12 meeting that he and member Ed Perkins had looked into some options for possibly extending service from the tract where Alexion is located westward.
Bagley proposed that the Authority authorize Chair Rick Waller to spend up to the $35,000 to hire a civil engineering firm to perform the field work and possibly design the sewer extension.
Waller said he would turn to Precision Planning of Monroe for the field work and design.
The motion passed unanimously.
Costs And Budget
The Authority will have to modify the budget it approved at its meeting in May to cover the costs of the Precision Planning contract if it reaches the $35,000 figure.
The Authority receives $9,460 each month in rent for the Post Office building in Watkinsville and is line to receive as much as $850,000 from the 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax approved by voters in 2014.
Waller has spoken of using some of that SPLOST money to provide sewer service to Gateway.
The Financial Report that County Finance Director Wes Geddings gave to the IDA at its meeting last week showed $805,956 in its banking accounts, not including the SPLOST money or money from the bonds sold by the Authority to finance construction of Parkway Boulevard Extension.
The meeting on June 12 took place at the conference room in the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce on Nancy Drive in Watkinsville.
The video below is of the entire meeting, and Bagley’s comments start at 24:20 in the video.
Phillips’ comments follow.
The Authority decided not to hold its regular July meeting but to make a field trip to Colbert in Madison County instead to look at two biomass power plants being built there.