Bibb signs off on Tractor Supply pact

rmanley@macon.comNovember 20, 2012 

One of the incentives offered to lure Tractor Supply Co.’s new distribution center and its 200 jobs to Bibb County was the deal cut on land and development costs by the Macon Water Authority.

That offer -- which cuts almost in half the $5.8 million the authority would have charged under the normal rate for development of the 117 acres in I-75 Business Park -- was made official Tuesday when the Bibb County Commission signed an intergovernmental agreement with the water authority and the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority.

Under the agreement, the county would repay up to $3.64 million with special purpose local options sales tax money earmarked for economic development.

Kevin Brown, the industrial authority’s attorney, commended the commission for “stepping forward” to help bring the $50 million distribution center to Bibb.

“It would not have happened if the county did not step up and plan with the SPLOST,” he said.

Construction on the 650,000-square-foot distribution center is well under way at the industrial park. The company also got a 15-year tax abatement for coming here.

Brown noted that the deal with Tractor Supply Co. was the last one negotiated by Frank Amerson, the former Macon Water Authority chairman and industrial authority vice chairman who died in September. Amerson and the water authority developed the I-75 Business Park using a $3.2 million disaster grant from the Mother’s Day 2008 tornado to erect a 1 million-gallon water tank on the other side of Hartley Bridge Road and to build infrastructure and a road in what is now the park.

Also Tuesday, the commission voted to amend a section of county code setting the salaries of certain elected county officials. Under the amended ordinance, state court judges upon taking office would earn a salary equal to 90 percent of a Superior Court judge’s salary. The civil/magistrate court judge would earn 82 percent of a Superior Court judge’s salary, while the solicitor of state court would earn 76 percent and the coroner 45 percent.

In other business, the commission:

• Adopted a set of fees for the county’s John Drew Smith and Tattnall Square Park tennis centers. Rates for individuals are $1 for seniors and children and $3.50 for adults on weekdays before 5 p.m., and $4.50 for all ages after 5 p.m.

However, to encourage more play, no fees will be charged at Tattnall except for nighttime play.

League fees range from $45 to $65, and annual membership fees are $290 for individuals and $455 for families.

Officials have tossed around the idea of merging two part-time positions into one full-time staffer to oversee Tattnall’s courts. That move might help encourage more play by inner-city youth, which several commissioners said they would like to see more of.

“Tattnall’s been the second fiddle,” admitted recreation director Dale “Doc” Dougherty.

The commission also approved a new contract for tennis centers director Carl Hodge and an agreement with the Macon Tennis Association to continue to bring major tennis tournaments to town.

• Approved a “supplemental funding” request from the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank for $10,000 to meet increased need during the holidays.

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.

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