Development authority seeks SPLOST funding for land acquisition in Floyd County
The Citizens SPLOST Advisory Committee has started work on narrowing down the list of potential projects to be included in a special purpose, local option sales tax package in November, and the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority is hoping that its wish list item makes the cut.
The committee meets Thursday at at 5 p.m. in the Fire Education Room, 409 E. 12th St.
The development authority is seeking $20 million to purchase land for industrial recruitment. Board chair Jimmy Byars recently explained the importance of having property in hand.
“The point that we’re really trying to get across is that without inventory, we’re out of business,” he said. “It’s not like the state calls us up and says they have a prospect, can we go find some land? The state calls you up and asks what we have that can be activated immediately.”
Past SPLOST-funded purchases have included Enterprise Corner off U.S. 411 between Rome and Cartersville, as well as the former Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital site, now known as the Battey Business Center.
“Some of the decisions that you all have made in the past for many years got us Lowe’s and a lot of other of the industries out there,” Byars told the development authority. “The single reason was that we had inventory. Now, we’re getting low on inventory. So, hopefully, it is time to grease that pipe again.”
The SPLOST committee heard 26 presentations during a series of meetings, and with projected revenues from the SPLOST at between $85 and $90 million, some projects will not make the referendum.
Some of the other requests include $3.3 million for the Cave Spring water main project and repairs to the school roof, nearly $24 million for a new Rome Police Department headquarters and new radios, $5.7 million for fire department capital projects, and $7.1 million for Floyd County public works and public safety equipment.
As part of their meeting this week, the authority also voted to change the minimum wage requirement for economic development incentives.
Each year, the Georgia Department of Community assesses the minimum wage requirement for statutory incentives. This year, it went up again, from $15.05 to $15.90.
“What we do is we follow those state minimums for our minimums,” said Rome-Floyd County Development Authority President and CEO Missy Kendrick. “So, the minimum wage now to receive incentives from our authority is $15.90 per hour.”
According to Kendrick, the number is the lowest average wage of all the counties in the state of Georgia.
“This not something that, you know, saying this is what I want to pay,” she said. “It’s not going to get it if you’re trying to get and keep labor. This is just the minimum required in order to get incentives.”
Incentives for existing industries include various tax credits while incentives for new industries can include PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) programs, and Freeport exemption as well as other tax credits.