Leesburg courting new business

LEESBURG, Ga. -- The Leesburg City Council voted Tuesday to move forward with plans to request grant funding from the state's Department of Community Affairs and from the OneGeorgia fund in an effort to attract a prospective business to a location on Robert B. Lee Drive.

The funds, if granted, would slash the cost to the city for a sewer extension on Robert B. Lee.

Mayor Jim Quinn said he could not elaborate on the business looking to locate in the city, although a well-known department store chain has long been rumored to be interested in the site, but he told the council grant awards would go a long way toward convincing the business to move forward with its plan to locate in the city.

"There's money available (from DCA and OneGeorgia), and if we do a good job of getting the paperwork (to both agencies) we can get a grant," Quinn said. "One of the grants is an Employee Incentive Grant that would provide funding for employees hired to work with the business."

Asked about possible risks by Councilman Bob Wilson, City Attorney Bert Gregory said the proposal "sounds like a win-win" for the city.

Water and Sewer Committee chairwoman Debra Long, with input from Gregory and Public Works Director Randy Kirby, said that the committee would hold an "emergency meeting" if needed to help residents whose well recently went dry get water to their home off State Highway 195.

Mattie Goddard, who owns the property, said her son and his family, who live there now, had no water and needed help as quickly as possible.

Kirby told Goddard if she was able to obtain an easement from adjacent property owners, he could get his crew to run water line to the property "tomorrow, if possible."

"That would be wonderful," Goddard told the council, thanking the body and Kirby for their immediate response.

City Clerk Casey Moore said Councilwoman Judy Powell, who was on vacation and unable to attend Tuesday's meeting, had asked council members to consider dates to meet with a planner/architect to work on specific items to be included in mission and vision statements as well as a five-year comprehensive plan for the city.

Powell is head of the council's Planning and Zoning Committee.

Wilson asked that a list of items that includes a mosquito fogger, a dump truck, a bush hog and a police car be declared surplus property so that bids could be taken on the items.

The council approved his request.