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Houston commission approves agreement with Warner Robins on Publix, street lights

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms speaks to the Houston County Commission on Tuesday along with council members Tim Thomas, center, and Keith Lauritsen about an agreement on a proposed shopping center.
Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms speaks to the Houston County Commission on Tuesday along with council members Tim Thomas, center, and Keith Lauritsen about an agreement on a proposed shopping center. wcrenshaw@macon.com

The Houston County Commission approved agreements with Warner Robins and Centerville on Tuesday that will light up some dark roads and clear the way for a new development in Bonaire.

The board approved an agreement with Warner Robins related to the planned Publix shopping center in Bonaire. The property, at the corner of Ga. 96 and Ga. 247, is in the county but the city will provide sewer service and fire protection. In exchange, the county will give the city 40 percent of the county’s portion of the property tax revenues. The school tax is excluded from the agreement.

If the property is annexed into the city in the future, then the taxes would be paid as on any other property. The property cannot currently be annexed because of properties separating it from the city limits.

The agreement was important enough that Mayor Randy Toms and most of the city council attended the meeting. Toms said he believed the agreement was the first of its kind between the city and county.

Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said there were false rumors that some officials were trying to stop the development. He and Toms said the agreement was the result of lengthy negotiations between the city, the county and the developer.

“If this agreement had not been made, I can tell you this development would not be done,” Stalnaker said. “Everybody sitting at that table wanted to make that shopping center happen.”

Stalnaker said the property is estimated to generate between $50,000 and $60,000 in county taxes annually that would then be divided with the city in accordance with the agreement.

The developer, Merg Hoffman, was at the meeting and said construction will begin in the spring and will take about a year to complete.

The street light agreement calls for the county to spend $294,683 put up the lights. Warner Robins will pay Flint Energies $2,306 monthly for the power costs, while Centerville will pay $428 monthly.

The streets slated for the lights are Cohen Walker Drive from Sutherlin Drive to Lake Joy Road; Snellgrove Drive; Lake Joy Road from Ga. 96 north to Taco Bell; Lake Joy Road from Ga. 96 south to Cohen Walker Drive; Sutherlin Drive; and Carl Vinson Parkway from Dunbar Road to Elberta Road.

“I think the people will really appreciate these lights in the future,” Stalnaker said.

They said the lights should start going up in March.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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