By REBECCA HAZEN
For the second month in a row, the Dade County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has not met quorum for their meetings. The IDA is still searching for a new board member to fill the seat previously held by Doug Anderton.
Members Sharon Moore and Larry Case were not present at the Monday, Feb. 15 meeting. Moore attended the meeting by phone.
County Attorney Robin Rogers noted that four people need to be physically present, in the room, to make a quorum.
“Going forward, we are going to have to insure that at least four people are in the room to have a meeting and to take a vote. Today doesn’t happen to be one of those days,” Chair Peter Cervelli said.
It was noted that the IDA can only have six members.
Ryan Sanders, a partner with Beltline Energy, LCC, was at the meeting to discuss the solar farm project going forward. He also was at the January meeting, when the board members first heard about the project.
Beltline Energy wants to acquire approximately 19 acres owned by the IDA to construct a solar farm adjacent to Bull Moose Tube Co.
“As of last week, we were notified by Georgia Power that the project has been selected. So the 19 acres that we have been discussing, our intention is to purchase those 19 acres and develop a solar farm,” Sanders said. “The contract has been awarded by the utility. There are a number of steps between here and there, but we are in a much more certain position now.”
Sanders said that there were a few more boxes to check for the project, including getting the appropriate zoning for the development, and the assessment value.
“The property that we are planning to purchase at $6,000 an acre is assessed at $36,000 an acre. That $36,000 is problematic from a taxation prospective. Mr. Back has suggested to us that he is going to file for an appeal to the assess value,” Sanders said.
The appeal will take into consideration the slope of the property and the bedrock.
The last remaining issue is possible tax abatements. Beltline Energy is hoping to receive incentive on the equipment, and on the investment they are bringing to the county.
“We know what we want the bottom line to be, we just haven’t done the math to tell you how we got there,” Cervelli said.
Sharon Moore was concerned about Sander’s asking about abatements.
“You guys made a very good presentation as to what you wanted and what you needed us to do … Once we did everything you asked us to do, I am hearing today that you are coming back and asking for something different. This not what I was expected when I voted yes. I just want to go on record saying that,” Moore said
Sanders replied that he believes this is not a new request. “We are trying to twist the arm of the Development Authority. All we are trying to do at this point is nail down what our costs are.”
Sanders estimates that they will enter the contract sometime this summer, and the purchase of the land will occur sometime in the fall.
In other news, Executive Director William Back noted that an RFI (request for information) was done for what is known as “project flavor,” a company that manufactures food additives. The company is interested in coming to Dade County, and has disclosed that there may be environmental concerns.
“My first call was to Dewayne Moore at the City of Trenton Sewer Department. We are in an on-going three-way conversation regarding what we can accept in terms of waste water discharge from a rather large plant,” Back said.
The next IDA meeting will March 15.