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Wanted: Industrial park funds
Commissioner asks East Morgan Economic Development Board to ante up for proposed site between Hartselle, Falkville

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George said he is working on another funding source for the proposed industrial park between Hartselle and Falkville.

George said he has asked the East Morgan Economic Development Board to join in a funding partnership that previously included only elected governmental entities for Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park.

"I think they will be receptive," he said.

George Crawford is chairman of the East Morgan board. He supports the idea, but noted that he's just one vote on a five-member board.

"The board will have to meet sometime this week and vote on the matter," Crawford said.

A local bill that created the East Morgan Economic Development Board and sets aside part of the county's ad valorem tax for the organization expires next year.

George wants the commission to continue to fund the organization. He also wants the group to become a funding partner in the industrial park.

"The new park is going to be in eastern Morgan County," George said. "I have asked them to come up with some money."

The East Morgan Economic Development Board receives between $200,000 and $250,000 annually in funding. The commission appoints the board members.

Funding for the county's second industrial park is in peril because Decatur doesn't want to continue to fund at the same level as it did for Mallard Fox.

Decatur gave about $400,000 annually in Tennessee Valley Authority in-lieu-of-taxes funds for 20 years to retire the bonds. Hartselle gave less than $100,000 annually.

Some Decatur officials believe Hartselle should give more for the new park because Hartselle will derive the greatest benefit.

Over a 20-year period, Decatur contributed about 45 percent of the funds to retire the $9.8 million Mallard Fox debt.

The local act that redirected TVA funds for Mallard Fox expires this year when the debt is retired.

Rep. Ronald Grantland, D-Hartselle, and Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, are prepared to sponsor new legislation to redirect the money for the industrial park near Hartselle.

But, they can't redirect the money without resolutions from the County Commission and eight municipal governments in Morgan County.

Including Decatur, fewer than half of the municipal governments have passed resolutions that Morgan County Economic Development Association President Jeremy Nails prepared.

George said he turned to the East Morgan Economic Development Board after learning about Decatur's concerns.

"I understand their concerns," he said. "That's why I want this new partner."

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