PDA OKs tax abatement plan


Estimated costs for development of Albany-Dougherty Industrial Park in East Albany:

Grading $2,535,000.00*

Roadway $482,615.00

Sewer $1,087,288.00

Storm/Drainage $313,083.55

Water Line $197,375.00

Erosion Control $513,223.44

Traffic Control $10,000.00

Signage/Marking $17,466.18

Total Cost: $5,156,031.17

  • Work to be performed by Public Works

Source: Albany-Dougherty Payroll Development Authority

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany-Dougherty Payroll Development Authority laid the groundwork Wednesday for a modification of plans for the Albany-Dougherty Industrial Park and a tax abatement plan for Outdoor Network's Internet division as it prepares to bring 112 new jobs to the county.

In a called meeting, the authority approved using $10,400 to have LAI Engineering make changes in bid documents that would, among other things, reflect removing an access road drawn into the original plan. Economic Development Executive Director Ted Clem said eliminating the road would serve two purposes.

"It saves us $400,000 right off the bat," Clem told authority members. "And by not completing that loop road through the property, we'd have the flexibility of marketing it to a large user.

"It doesn't change the concept of the industrial park; it just gives us flexibility we wouldn't have (with the road)."

Clem said the roughly 225-acre industrial park, which partially abuts the old Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. property off Sylvester Road, is ready for the first phase of development now that plans have been finalized to extend sewer into the park.

"There was no need in developing an industrial park without sewer," he said.

Clem also noted that by cutting out one of the roads through the property and by using in-kind labor from city and county public works departments, the cost of developing the park would be slashed from an estimated $5.2 million to around $2.6 million.

"If I'm not mistaken, we have SPLOST (special-purpose local-option sales tax) funds on hand of around $4 million for this project," authority and Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said.

"It's actually $4 1/2 million, and we have more to come in SPLOST VI," Clem said.

Sinyard praised the plan that was eventually approved by the authority.

"I like this approach," he said. "We maintain the flexibility to show the park in a great way, but it also keeps some of our powder dry and gives us additional tools in our chest."

Clem said the EDC had shown the site to several prospective buyers, including some interested in purchasing the entire site.

Clem also introduced a tax abatement plan agreed to in principle by officials with Outdoor Network, whose Internet division will relocate from Florida to 1113 Seminole Lane by the end of the year. The local Power Plus Sports dealership is part of Outdoor Network.

"First of all, we did not take anything off the tax roles," Clem said. "What we've come up with is an abatement plan on improvements they're expected to make on the property. The plan calls for a 100 percent abatement for the first five years and then ratcheting that down over the next five years. After year 10, they would be paying 100 percent of taxes."

Clem said Outdoor Network's estimated tax savings over the 10 years of the abatement agreement, which was given conceptual approval by the authority Wednesday, would total $236,937.

Authority Attorney Jay Reynolds said the company could use one of two options to take advantage of the tax abatement: Allow the authority to take title of the property and lease it to Outdoor Network for a nominal fee or finance the project through a bond issuance.

"The 'lease' payment that they'd pay to the authority would be paid in lieu of taxes," Reynolds said.

Sinyard said he expected to see the abatement agreement tied to the number of jobs maintained at the company's facility.

"If that 112 jobs falls to 100 or 90 or 80, I'd expect the abatement amount to reciprocate along with the job losses," he said.

Reynolds also announced that the authority had closed on the sale of a smaller industrial park property, which Clem said had been purchased by a company that planned to locate a small distribution center here.

"The property's been sold, but I don't think (company officials) are ready to make an announcement just yet," Clem said.