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County Working With Other Counties On Industrial Development

The Jeff Davis County Board of Commissioners last week approved financing the county’s share of costs associated with placing a railroad spur in the Pierce County Industrial Park.
Jeff Davis and Pierce counties, along with Appling and Bacon counties, are members of the Southeast Georgia Regional Development Authority (SEGRDA). The four counties work jointly on industrial development projects, sharing costs and revenues from those joint efforts.
At last Tuesday’s meeting, Jeff Davis County Joint Development Authority Executive Director Laura Bloom introduced three representatives of the SEGRDA and Bacon, Appling and Pierce counties’ Development Authorities to explain the Pierce rail project and request a $36,000 input from the Jeff Davis Commissioners.
Kevin Ellis, Executive Director of the Bacon County Development Authority and chairman of the SEGRDA, led the presentation and was joined by Matt Carter, Executive Director of the Pierce County Development Authority, and Keri Orvin, Executive Director of the Appling County Industrial Development Authority.
They explained that the SEGRDA had already paid CSX railroad $331,000 to put the spur in the Pierce park. They explained that each of the four counties will share, getting 25% of profits from any industry locating in the park but, to attract those industries, the park needed a rail spur to provide rail access to potential industries.
Additionally, Progress Rail Service, headquartered in Mayfield, Ky., operates a facility in the small Pierce County town of Patterson. The company has projected they would have 43 locomotives stored in its Patterson facility, and SEGRDA members can profit as the locomotives are charged $50 per trip in and $50 per trip out.
The group added that the project would benefit by the large amount of shipping run through the park by the timber and poultry industries in the area and, again, Jeff Davis County would received its 25% share of the switching fees at the Pierce County Park.
Bacon and Appling counties had already agreed to pay their $36,000 share of the costs and it was expected Pierce County would follow suit.
They further explained that Pierce County did not join the SEGRDA until 2018. All the projects prior to the addition of Pierce were shared with the three establishing counties with each getting a third of any income and that arrangement is continuing for those project, and the share is reduced to 25% only for the projects developed after 2018.
After a few questions by the commissioners, they voted unanimously to approve the expenditure.
In other business, the commission ….
….set qualifying fees for the 2022 election.
…. voted to adopt a resolution in support of an Association of County Commission Georgia initiative to ask the State Legislature to approved proposed legislation to change the state’s annexation law.
…. heard an update from County Attorney Andy Ramay on the project to improve the Burkett’s Ferry landing site and approved a resolution to enter into a new lease on the site with the Department of Natural Resources.
…. approved a resolution to adopt the new county redistricting map.
…. listened as County Administrator Heather Scott gave updates on the Emergency Medical Service, the Emergency Management Agency facility and the County Fire Department.
…. addressed once again two mobile homes that were up for sale to collect county taxes owed from previous years.
…. at the request of Sheriff Presto Bohannon, agreed to hire McDonald’s Construction as the construction manager on the new law enforcement complex project.
…. met in closed session to discuss personnel. After reopening the meeting, they agreed to approve pay raises for county employees, to hit Jamie Crosby as the new County Clerk, to advertise for an accounts payable clerk and to renew Ramay’s contract for 2022.

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