Hannah Carroll, Reporter
Megan Benoit, Editor
Floyd County bought approximately 15 acres of land on Oct. 10 with the intent of attracting industries that will purchase on the site.
The purpose of buying the plot was to make the industrial site directly adjacent to the North Floyd Industrial Rail Site more appealing to industries wanting to build. The purchased plot contains a direct access point to Highway 53, which would make the land more accessible to customers and trucks transporting goods.
Floyd County’s ownership of the land would also eliminate the issue of residential encroachment, meaning industries won’t have to be concerned with the risk of neighbors or complaints. County Manager Jamie McCord said these aspects make the land more attractive to buyers.
According to Commissioner Wright Bagby, the properties were first viewed when the original industrial site was purchased in 2004, but they were not available to be bought at the time. The residents had the land for sale for the past six months, and after brief deliberation, Floyd County commissioners decided to buy it.
“It’s difficult to put together industrial sites, so when the opportunity arises, you take it,” Bagby said.
The money used to purchase the land came from a 2013 special-purpose local-options sales tax (SPLOST) package that allocated $8 million to fund property and infrastructure improvements for sites prepared for construction. According to the 2013 SPLOST Voter’s Guide from Georgia’s County Association, the project was created to repeat the success of attracting Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center which added 600 new jobs.
Chief Appraiser Danny Womack said an appraisal of the land valued it at approximately $500,000 of the Board of Assessors. However, the land was purchased for more than twice this amount after Commission Chair Rhonda Wallace made the motion to pay $1.2 million.
According to McCord, the removal of the 14 buildings on the site and the leveling of the land is expected to cost $1.3 million, leaving about $5.5 million available as needed for the plan. The money is being budgeted as it comes in, with the expected spending carrying over to the 2019 SPLOST plan.
The land is predicted to be ready to enter the market after six months. Grading the land is to take approximately 90 days and repairs to roads and infrastructure connected to the site will be another 90 days. When improvements are completed, the land will be ready to be resold to interested companies, according to McCord.
Director of Economic Development Heather Seckman said the targeted market is advanced manufacturing, such as automotive factories. This type of manufacturing will aid in the creation of jobs with high paying wages and benefits.
McCord said that Floyd County would like to break even when reselling the land. The value in purchasing the land isn’t the monetary profit, but the investment in the community. The objective of attracting industries is to bring more jobs to the area that will employ residents and increase the quality of life.
“Our profit is in the jobs and the betterment of the community,” McCord said.
The 2019 SPLOST plan proposes another $3.1 million towards the purchase of infrastructure and land that the county can use to buy more plots.