News from Jackson County...

JULY 17, 2002


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Our Time and Place:
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A complete history of Jackson County, Georgia from 1796 to the present. Written in narrative style for easy reading. Includes material not found in other books about Jackson County.

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OPINIONS
Jackson County opinion page

Angela Gary
Let freedom ring
I watched as a dozen little cub scouts held shaking fingers in salute as they said the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the scout meeting. I held my tiny hand over my heart.

Phillip Sartain
On a roll
Trust me when I say that I don’t like to do this. It’s never a good idea to discuss your weird dreams in public.


SPORTS

Commerce boys’ all-star team gunning for state title
After obliterating their district by a combined score of 42-8, the Commerce 11-and-12-year-old boys’ all-stars will now put their postseason firepower to the test against the state’s best.

All-star state tournament play begins
Former Lady Panther April Cantrell was a two-sport standout in high school.
Now she’ll try to do the same in college.
Already a member of the Lady Lions’ basketball squad, Cantrell will look to lace-up her spikes this season on the softball diamond for Emmanuel College.


Neighboorhood News ..
MADISON COUNTY
Planners frown on 72-home subdivision
A proposed 72-home subdivision on Hwy. 72 was frowned on by county planners Tuesday.

Hudgens hearing set for Thursday
A hearing to determine whether Ralph Hudgens is a legitimate District 47 senatorial candidate is set for 10 a.m. Thursday in the Office of State Administrative Hearings at 235 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 700, Atlanta.

Well problem still a major concern for IDA
A technical snafu may have rendered an old well just outside Hull useless. And without the well, the development of a Hwy. 72 business park could be in jeopardy.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Bank on growth in Banks
If Banks County is going to grow, the industrial development authority plans to be ready for it.
“The wave is coming,” Banks County IDA member Jerry Boling said. “We can’t wait around and wait around to act. We must act now or we’re going to lose the opportunity.”

Lula bridge becomes historic landmark
The old railroad bridge in Lula may become the city’s first historical landmark.
Norfolk and Southern Railroad, which owns the bridge, had indicated the company may tear it down when it reaches a state of disrepair.

Homer losing money on garbage collection
During a work/training session on the budget for the City of Homer, council members found the city is losing money on garbage collection.

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GOVERNOR SPEAKS

Gov. Roy Barnes spoke at Jackson Electric Membership Corporation Monday on the official announcement by Michigan Automotive Compressor Inc. (MACI) that it is locating in Jackson County.

$60+ million industry planned for Jackson County
Automotive air compressor plant part of Toyota empire
Plans for a $60-$100 million automobile parts manufacturing plant in Jackson County were unveiled at a ceremony Monday morning in Jefferson attended by Gov. Roy Barnes and other state and local officials.
Michigan Automotive Compressor Inc. (MACI), headquartered in Parma, Mich., will locate on 152 acres at Valentine Farms between Wayne Poultry Road, Toy Wright Road and Possum Creek Road in North Jackson. The company will manufacture automobile air compressors. Plans are to hire 120 employees during the first phase of the project.
MACI is owned by Toyota Industries Corporation and the Denso Corporation. The air compressors are supplied to a variety of car manufacturers.
Grading and site preparation are expected to begin this fall with construction to follow in 2003. The facility is expected to be complete by June 2004
“I’m glad to be here today to celebrate this important day for Jackson County and for the state of Georgia,” Gov. Roy Barnes said Monday morning. “This plan would never have gotten off the ground without the dedicated efforts of business leaders and public officials....who had the foresight and vision to drive this project...With new infrastructure in place to support high-tech industry and smart business government partnerships, Jackson County has made a bold entry into the 21st century global market place.”
The governor said the development would generate a $60-$100 million investment to Jackson County, bring “high-skilled” jobs and usher in new economic development through improved infrastructure.
“People in Jackson County will feel the impact more directly through the boost of high-paying jobs,” Barnes said. “Almost five percent of the state’s work force is employed in jobs that are dependent on the automobile industry.”
Officials have said the jobs will be $21-$25 per hour.
The governor said Japanese business is the largest single investor in Georgia history with over 450 companies that are headquartered in Japan located in the state. He said the relationship with Georgia and Japanese businesses has a 40-year history.
More than 100 people gathered at the Jackson Electric Membership Corporation auditorium Monday for the announcement.
“We’re proud that we’ve targeted a tier-one automotive supplier as part of our economic development efforts in Jackson County,” said chamber of commerce president/CEO Pepe Cummings. “It’s an important industry sector for us and this is a very, very, very important company and announcement...It’s not just creating better and more jobs or adding to the tax base, it’s doing that in a way that uplifts the entire community.”
TOYOTA VP SPEAKS
Shozo Nakayama, executive vice president of Toyota Industries Corporation, spoke on the 76-year history of the Toyota company. He said the company has the largest market share in the world for air compressors at 35 percent.
He said the main reason Jackson County was selected for the facility is the great support from the state and local community. He added that the second plant is needed to meet customer needs.
MACI has a similar plant in Jackson County, Mich, that was established in 1989. They produce air conditioner air compressors for over 20 different vehicle makes and models. The facility in Michigan is 754,000 square feet. The company is the largest manufacturer in Jackson County, Mich. It produces over 4.5 million compressor units annually.
Toshinao Urabe, the consul general of Japan, spoke on the relationship between Georgia and Japan.
“I’m happy to witness another building block in our great partnership,” he said. “Here in Georgia, the cumulative Japanese investment is $4 billion. The companies employ 30,000 people. They not only generate jobs, they generate taxes which include infrastructure, schools and other services that benefit the whole community.”
Other Jackson County public officials speaking were Harold Fletcher, chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, and Charles Blair, chairman of the chamber of commerce.
“It’s a pleasure to stand here and be a part of this project,” Fletcher said. “What you see here today is a fruition of a partnership that has been going on for several months...What we have here today wouldn’t be possible without that pride.”
Blair said: “Several years ago, the business community in Jackson County, in partnership with our county government, committed the financial resources needed to ensure a quality economic development program that would recruit quality industries to our county. Through these efforts, we expected to generate quality business growth that would provide jobs for our citizens while helping to enhance the quality of life all of us in Jackson County consider one of our most precious resources. In Toyota, we found a business that met all of these criteria, and today, we welcome Toyota as the newest member of the Jackson County business community.”
The ceremony ended with a traditional saki toast to the project’s success. The governor presented the Japanese delegation with crystal peaches to commemorate the occasion.


Water board making plans for industry sewer line
40,000 ft. line will service 150,000 gal. per day for plant
The governor has made the announcement. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners and the Industrial Development Authority have signed the contracts.
Now the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority has two years to design and install a $4 million sewer line to serve Michigan Automotive Compressor, Inc. when it opens for business in 2004.
Toward that end, the authority approved a $1 million engineering contract with its sewer engineering firm, Metcalf & Eddy, last Thursday night.
The project will extend a line 40,000 feet from the authority’s under-construction Doster Creek line. The new line will pipe an estimated 150,000 gallons per day of waste from the industry, located on Wayne Poultry Road between Toy Wright and Possum Creek roads, along Possum Creek and Allen Creek to a pump station that will take it to Walnut Creek, where it will meet the (by then) existing county sewer line. The material will be treated at the authority’s Texfi plant.
The contract provides for $851,280 to cover surveying, preparation of easements and plats, environmental work and engineering. It also contains a $145,000 contingency allowance, bringing the total to $996,280.
The line will also serve Wayne Poultry Company.
Jerry Waddell, manager of the water and sewerage authority, indicated that the authority has learned from its initial sewer project, the Doster Creek-Middle Oconee lines.
“Once we determine the best route, we will put it out for review,” Waddell said. “We’ll have public meetings and have the route on the tax maps for everyone to see, but once we determine the route, it’s not going to change.”
“We’re not going to have time to serve a lot of alignment changes,” agreed Mary Kay Jackson of Metcalf & Eddy.
The Doster Creek-Middle Oconee Interceptor, construction of which is expected to begin immediately, was delayed for several months as the authority tried to make route changes to accommodate affected property owners and under pressure from the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
Funding for the project is expected to be provided by $2 million in state grants and the remainder in loans from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) officials say.


Court Battle Looming Over Water Services
A water war of sorts is expected to move into the Superior Court of Jackson County this week.
The Nicholson Water Authority planned to file suit seeking an injunction to keep the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority from serving customers – including the East Jackson Middle School and East Jackson Elementary School – in what the Nicholson Water Authority considers its service area.
"Our stand is very simply that we're standing on our authority and the territory we were designated," said Nicholson Water Authority (NWA) chairman Ray Chester.
The issue is that the NWA believes the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority (JCW&SA) is infringing on territory the NWA was granted by the General Assembly when special legislation created the NWA in 1972. The JCW&SA believes its service area under the House Bill 489 agreement goes right to the city limits of Nicholson.
The major area of contention at present is on Hoods Mill Road where JCW&SA serves East Jackson Middle School and has contracted to provide water to the under-construction East Jackson Elementary School.
Both schools fall within the boundaries set by the 1972 act that changed the Nicholson Water Association into the Nicholson Water Authority. And because Nicholson has an eight-inch line on Hoods Mill Road, the NWA position is that the Jackson County service violates the intent of HB 489 by duplicating services.
The Jackson County Board of Education heard proposals from both groups prior to construction of EJMS and opted to be served by JCW&SA in part because it did not believe NWA could provide the water necessary for fire protection.
For the same reason, said Elton Collins, chairman of JCW&SA, his authority is being approached by developers of land in the NWA area who want county water because the county system provides adequate flow for fire protection.
"We've been hearing this (complaints from NWA) for eight years," Collins said. "Our position is let them sue."
The 1972 legislation gave NWA a 32-square-mile territory centered on the intersection of Brockton Road and U.S. 441, Chester said. The territory runs four miles north and four miles south along U.S. 441 and two miles on each side of U.S. 441.
But when Jackson County governments got together to develop "service delivery areas" under the HB 489 mandate, the Nicholson Water Authority was not at the table.
"They would not include us. They would not let us be a part. We were left out of it and not allowed to sign House Bill 489," Chester complains. Jerry Waddell, manager of the JCW&SA, disagrees. He says NWA "refused to negotiate."
At its meeting last Thursday night, the water and sewerage authority held a 30-minute closed session with the NWA attorney, the latest in intermittent discussions on the issue that dates back to 1994.
Following the meeting, Collins said his authority will proceed with plans to serve parts of the NWA's chartered territory. Collins said the legislative act did not create an exclusive franchise for NWA.
"We have the right to go in there. If they want to sue, we'll let the judge decide," Collins said.
The county authority's position is that the legislation creating the NWA gave the NWA the right to lay water lines and serve customers in the 32 square mile sector centered on U.S. 441 in downtown Nicholson – but did not prohibit any other entity from serving people in that area.
According to Collins, the HB 489 agreement defines the NWA's water service area as the city limits of Nicholson.
"Nicholson signed off on it," he said.

Nicholson Water Authority Wants Court To Keep Jackson County Water And Sewerage Authority Out Of Its Territory



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MACI incentives
from local, state
governments
A comprehensive package of local and state incentives was put together as part of the deal with MACI. To offset some of the cost of local incentives, Jackson County has gotten commitments for various grants from state and federal sources.
The major part of the incentives revolve around providing the necessary infrastructure to the site. But local officials have long had some of the projects on the drawing board and the location of MACI allows those projects to proceed, opening up a new industrial development corridor in Jackson County.
Highlights of the incentive package are:
• The development of Concord Road from Hwy. 129 to the intersection of Toy Wright Road and Possum Creek Road. From that point, Possum Creek Road will have four lanes up to Wayne Poultry Road. The state is helping pay for part of those two projects with $1.4-$1.5 million. Total estimated cost is around $3 million. (Plans call for Concord Road to eventually be completed to Hwy. 82 at the Dry Pond exit on the north side of I-85.)
• The county is waiving all development fees, including the sewer tap fee of $1.5 million. Grant funds are expected to cover a major part of that cost for the county. The sewer line will connect back to the old Texfi processing facility in Jefferson and will be a main line for future service of that area.
• County taxes will be phased in over a five-year period at 20 percent intervals. However, no school taxes were waived and since the project is located in a “shared service area,” both the Jefferson City School System and the Jackson County School System will receive 100 percent of the taxes.
• Some grant funds will be used to help with the initial grading and site preparation for the project.