PDA: One Sumter ‘moving right along’

Published 10:00 am Saturday, February 7, 2015

AMERICUS — The Americus-Sumter Payroll Development Authority (PDA) approved the financial statement during its regular monthly session Tuesday. Among the highlights was discussion of the PDA’s new strategic visioning process, One Sumter. The general ledger showed expenses paid for One Sumter during the month of January, including the following.

• $4,035 for a video by Atlanta Idea Studio

• $9,055.30 paid to Wish Creative Inc., an Atlanta advertising firm

• $341.85 paid to Good Image, a local business

• $1,426.23 paid to NEOS, a local IT firm

• $22,086.70 to First Community Development, a fund raising and consulting company from Atlanta

The total expenses for One Sumter for January came to $42,707.51 which was unanimously approved. These funds come from One Sumter Foundation which was founded in mid-2014, and is funded by the PDA.

Barbara Grogan, executive director of the PDA, reported that One Sumter is “moving right along” with the video, website and a story in the Times-Recorder. She said Governor Deal had written a letter of support for the project which seeks to raise $2 million over five years.

Other business discussed included the following.

• The Contact Center and how the PDA should bill for space, by employee or by cubicle. It was decided to use the per cubicle concept since some employees are full-time and others part-time. So far the three firms occupying the Contact Center are PetCareRX, PharmaCentra and ConCentra.

• Ricky Arnold of HRA Construction LLC discussed proposals to deal with a leaking roof on a PDA-owned building on Brady Road, the former site of Eagle Technologies.

• Under new business, Grogan reported she is working with two prospects, one manufacturing and one for the Contact Center. She also showed plans for South Georgia Tech Parkway which will be paid for with TSPLOST funds. Construction is expected to begin in late summer on that project.

• The South Lee Street bridge was discussed again. Chairman Paul Hall asked what had held up the elevation project in the past. Attorney Jimmy Skipper said that since the bridge is in the City’s historic district, many people had objected, including those from Calvary Episcopal Church.

The rail bed had already been lowered in previous years, but now the only way to accommodate container shipping by rail is to elevate the bridge.

Grogan said Georgia DOT had apprised her that more options are available now and offered three firms that specialize. The PDA will further study this matter and seek more information. Authority member Sybil Smith commented that the bridge impacts not only the intermodal port at Cordele but Tolleson Lumber Co. in neighboring Webster County. Hall said, “You’re going yo see rail companies that exist being used more and more. Rail is not going away but will only grow.”

Grogan reported on marketing and branding, an ongoing process. She mentioned a quarterly publication by the PDA and Americus-Sumter Chamber of Commerce and that Sumter County is featured in the just released UGA Outreach magazine.

Another discussion was held on H20 Sports Manufacturing, which makes boats in Americus. The firm is seeking a joint-venture agreement which the PDA agreed would need more documentation before it is formalized.