Officials ponder plan for new industrial park

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 2, 2003

Lincoln County and Brookhaven officials have expressed supportfor developing a new industrial park, but a timetable for theirapproving plans to finance the project remains uncertain.

Following a presentation on the need for a new park andfinancing plans at their last board meeting, Lincoln Countysupervisors were asked by chamber officials to act on the park attheir meeting tomorrow.

“It is the intention of the board to respond to them Monday,”said Tillmon Bishop, chancery clerk and clerk for the board. “Theboard of supervisors is supportive of a new industrial park.”

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The response, though, may not be formal approval to proceed witha $2.2 million bond issue to finance land purchase and development.City officials have been asked to approve a similar bond issue.

“We still have a few things to work out,” Bishop said. “We wantto make sure the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.”

District 3 Supervisor and Board President Nolan Earl Williamsonsaid there were “several issues” that needed to be addressed. Oneissue is a possible division of school property taxes paid byindustries that would locate in the park.

The proposed site, west of the city on 550 acres on 15th and16th section land, is wholly within the Brookhaven School District.However, some officials have indicated a desire for the LincolnCounty School District to share in some of that revenue.

“I’d love to see it equal for every student in Lincoln County,”Williamson said. “However it’s worked out, I’d want it to be fairfor every student, regardless of what school they go to.”

Dr. Sam Bounds, superintendent of the Brookhaven SchoolDistrict, said it would be premature to comment on the industrialpark school tax issue. He said he has had only a brief discussionwith chamber officials about the park and there has been no formalconversation with the city school board regarding the issue.

“We’re anxious to be a part of that conversation and we’resupportive of industrial development,” Bounds said.

Lincoln County Superindent of Education Perry Miller wasunavailable for comment on the industrial park issue.

Bishop said the industrial park and bond issue representlong-term commitments. He complimented chamber officials on layingthe groundwork for the project.

“We feel like the chamber has done a good job,” Bishop said.

Williamson said a new industrial park is needed for the futureof the county and the benefit of its citizens.

“That’s to keep people in Lincoln County, especially the young,”Williamson said. “To keep money in Lincoln County, you’ve got tohave it. I don’t see any other way around it.”

Brookhaven officials are studying the possible impact of a bondissue related to annexation and other projects, such as themulti-modal facility and a new city hall. City officials areplanning a special meeting on June 10 with bond issue attorneys andtheir annexation consultant to discuss the situation.

Funds from the city and county would be paired with around$500,000 in private funds raised through the Vision Partnershipcampaign. The money will cover the estimated $4.7 million neededfor land purchase and developing phase one of the park,

Meanwhile, chamber officials are taking every opportunity topromote the need for a new park. A media campaign is under way andthe park has been mentioned at various chamber functions.

“There is no other issue that is as vital or critical as this,”said Chandler Russ, executive vice-president, during a customerservice seminar last week.