ATLANTA -- Gov. Nathan Deal will support spending state money to help buy properties that must be demolished around Robins Air Force Base.
“The local government already has funds on the front end,” Deal spokeswoman Stephanie Mayfield said Friday, “and the state is committed to helping on the back end.”
House Minority Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire, is seeking somewhere between $7 million and $10 million in state dollars to help buy out homeowners on the north side of Robins Air Force Base.
Clearing out those homeowners is key because the Department of Defense wants no residences in what it deems a “crash zone” and noisy area. Local leaders want to keep the department happy to help keep Robins off the chopping block in any future proposals to close bases.
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There is no word yet how much money Deal would support. Indeed, because of shifting property prices, the total cost is not yet clear either. O’Neal’s proposed figures represent about one-third of the estimated value of the homes.
If the state House and Senate agree to spend the money, state funds could move as early as July, when the state’s next fiscal year begins.
In November, Bibb County taxpayers approved a special purpose local option sales tax that’s expected to bring in $190 million over six years. Of that total, $6 million was earmarked to help buy up land around Robins.
In March, Houston County voters will have their say on a sales tax proposal that’s expected to raise $155 million. Of that total, $7 million would be used for the encroachment issue.