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Bill expanding port authority territory clears Legislature

By M.J. Ellington (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — One funding link in a proposed I-65 industrial development project near Hartselle cleared the Legislature late Thursday in a cooperative effort by a local House member and a local senator.

Rep. Ronald Grantland's HB 155 increases the territory of port authorities from no more than 3 miles from the shoreline to include the entire county where the authorities operate.

It would let the Decatur-Morgan County Port Authority be involved in negotiating funding for the successor to Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park. The proposed project is along I-65 at Hartselle.

Hartselle Democrat Grantland's bill cleared the House and awaited final passage in the Senate on Tuesday, but it did not come up on the Senate calendar for a vote. Sen. Arthur Orr's bill did come up but was not as close to passage as Grantland's bill. Orr substituted Grantland's bill for his, and the Senate approved it.

"I am just glad that the bill passed," Grantland said. "I sure hope the governor signs it."

Orr, a Decatur Republican, said the entire delegation worked together to help get local bills past the impasse in the Senate, where no bills passed for several weeks.

Other bills of local interest and their status in the legislative process include:

  • HB 888 by Grantland — Provides that TVA in-lieu-of-taxes revenue, now used to pay off bonds on Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park, be used to help finance the new industrial development project on I-65 at Hartselle. The bill passed the House and awaits final reading in the Senate on Thursday.

    Final bond debt payments for Mallard Fox will mature in less than one year, enabling local governments to use part of the TVA money for the new project.

  • HB 924 by Rep. Bill Dukes, D-Decatur — Directs expenditures for the 3 percent increase in TVA in-lieu-of-taxes revenue that came to TVA counties in a 2006 law.

    In Dukes' bill, 60 percent of the new revenue would go to Morgan County and municipal governments and 40 percent to pay for a local legislative delegation office in the county. The bill passed the House and awaits final reading in Senate. It could pass Thursday. There is no Senate companion bill.

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