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Decatur council OKs industrial park funding
City to fund same level as
committed to Mallard Fox Creek

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com 340-2442

Supporters of an industrial park along Interstate 65 between Hartselle and Falkville cleared a major hurdle Thursday when the Decatur City Council approved funding for the project.

Council President Billy Jackson, who had voiced concerns over fully funding the project with the city's portion of Tennessee Valley Authority funds, made Thursday's vote unanimous.

"My position was very clear the entire time, that I don't feel we'll get the same percentage of proportional impact that we received from the previous development," Jackson said. "But after much discussion with the council and economic development, I've decided to support it. Hopefully it will bring the (expected) economic impact to the county and city of Decatur as well."

Decatur Mayor Don Kyle said the city will make its final payment on the industrial park at Mallard Fox Creek in December, and then it can support the new park with a share of the city's TVA in-lieu-of-tax funds.

"We've hammered this around for several weeks and looked at the whole picture," Kyle said. "But there is a dollar cap that limits what the cities and (Morgan) County Commission have to put in, in one year. It's $1 million on industrial-park financing per year and $200,000 per year on an industrial-incentive fund."

Kyle said the industrial-incentive fund has a total cap of $1 million.

Over 20 years, Decatur paid about 45 percent of the money used to retire the $9.8 million debt on Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park.

Jeremy Nails, president of Morgan County Economic Development Association, said Decatur's support is paramount to building the next industrial park.

An 1,800-acre site between Falkville and Hartselle has been identified as a possible location for the development.

"I understand Mr. Jackson's concerns," Nails said after the council meeting. "It's hard to be regional in his position with the city, but it will benefit everyone in the county, and it's the right thing to do. I know it will benefit Decatur and others in the county just as Mallard Fox Creek has by creating jobs in the region."

Nails said a bill is before the state Legislature that would expand the power of the Decatur-Morgan County Port Authority to assist in the park's development. Current law prohibits the port authority's intervention beyond a three-mile radius of the Tennessee River.

Town clerks in Eva and Falkville said Thursday that their councils are expected to pass resolutions in support of the project in meetings early next month.

"The next step is with the legislative delegation," Nails said.

Hartselle Mayor Dwight Tankersley said the Legislature could approve the formation of a cooperative district, which would issue bonds to fund the project.

"Hartselle intends to do the accounting on the bonds," Tankersley said. "I'm very excited to hear (of Decatur's approval). That's great for Morgan County for the city to be on board and working for the entire county."

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