Development Authority Discusses Low Power Issues and Americus Fresh Updates

Published 8:19 pm Monday, October 23, 2023

The Development Authority met on October 16th. New Fatherhood agent Lisa Courtney at the Department of Child Support Services addressed the Board.
“Our program is for non-custodial parents who are having trouble paying their child support, that may have a situation being underemployed or unemployed. So we provide resources for them to get their GED, get training certificates at SGTC, find employment where they can sustain themselves and their children.”
She responded to a question about the success rate.
“We do have a lot of repeat customers, and to be honest, we have a lot that fail to go through the program, but because we didn’t have anybody that was dedicated to do that, we are hoping that we can improve on that.”
Rusty Warner gave The Department of Labor unemployment statistics.
“The only number I’ve got are from August. The unemployment number for Sumter County is 4.8, and that’s up one point from last Labor report.”
The Board voted to accept the financial statement. Bill Harris made a motion, Mike Horne seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Rusty Warner, the executive director at the Sumter County Development Authority, went over the budget. Major changes he presented included the following:
Reduction in advertising and an increase in accounting and booking. Money to promote economic development was also reduced by half:
“With 24 being a year where we are not really knowing where we are going, I’m not doing a lot of advertising or promotion because I don’t know if I’m going to have the power for the agreements.”
He mentioned further reductions.
“We’ve got new roofs and just about all the contracts that I’m doing right now with any businesses and what have you, I’m having them pick up a lot of the repair costs on air conditioning and all that kind of stuff so that we can get out of the repair business.
Industrial Park Utilities, this is for the storm water and we got a couple of lighted signs out there. I reduced that by $2,500.
Because of what I expect 24 to be with Georgia Power, I can’t do a whole lot of promoting. I don’t want to run adds inside the site selector. This amount of money we got in here will keep us alive in what I call the intrastate, meaning the state and everything will know what I’m doing what we are doing. It shuts us off on the outside.”
Warner also mentioned money for site preparedness.
“Site readiness, this is the funds that I asked you guys for a couple of years ago, this is the $25,000 that allows me to be able to come in and do some kind of site preparedness.”
Warner responded to questions about talks with the city and county about power.
“I believe the talks will be a lot stronger when we get some things worked out with NANO and Americus Fresh. When the solar fields hit, everybody is going to be doing really good.”
Warner stated when Americus Fresh was expected to hit the tax base.
“There’re opening up for the first time in the Spring of 25.”
A motion was entertained to accept the budget as is. John Shealy made a motion to accept the budget, Bill Harris seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Warner mentioned industry visits.
“Americus Fresh, they’re doing great. They are going from a 56,000 square foot to a 350,000 square foot.”
He referenced the original.
“That was going to employ 84. They haven’t given us precise numbers just yet.”
He discussed business with River Valley Regional Commission.
“Still working with River Valley on the environmental studies. It looks like we are going to go ahead and get another renewal because there is still money left over until we get the extension. They are still accepting phase 1 and phase 2 studies. If you hear of any companies out there that need a phase one or a phase two, look me up.”
Warner referred to the downtown.
“There’s a lot of new improvements you’re going to be seeing down there in there as far as retail, rebuilding, and new apartments and lofts, and all of this is really going to help out with the tax base.”
Warner reported developments with OneSumter.
“OneSumter is looking to hire a lobbyist, I don’t know if it’s going to go through or not. I couldn’t really see why we needed one so I elected not to participate in the funding of a lobbyist.”
Afterward the Board adjourned without executive session.