Tuesday members of the Rome-Floyd County authority voted to seek a joint meeting of the two bodies in August for the purpose of considering the specific roles of the two authorities and a determination as to whether or not both are needed in the future.
The two authorities are partners in the North Floyd Industrial Park off Ga. 140 and the 110-acre North Floyd Industrial Park with rail access sites at the intersection of Ga. 53 and Ga. 140.
The discussion of the role and future for the two authorities grew out of a need for the two bodies to come together on a new revenue sharing agreement from Payment In Lieu of Taxes money. An old agreement expired at the end of 2017. RFDA member Doc Kibler said both authorities benefit from the PILOT fees.
"The real question is do we need two authorities?" asked RFDA member Otis Raybon. Floyd County Commission Chairwoman Rhonda Wallace said the joint meeting should offer an answer to exactly why the two authorities are needed. Kibler said it would be important to illustrate the fact there is no real competition between the two panels.
Rome Floyd Chamber member Ken Wright told the authority there is still the need for a speculative industrial building. RFDA Chairman Pete McDonald said that simply having a building would put the community on a list that at least gets a look from prospects. Wright said the typical need is for 100,000 square feet, expandable up to double that size.
County Manager Jamie McCord said there was the potential to use SPLOST funds for such a project, but said he did not believe the SPLOST law would permit the actual sale of such a building. He said he would like to see SPLOST funds earmarked for additional land acquisition. "We're one sale away from not having any land," McCord said.
The county manager said Rome and Floyd County has a couple of smaller parcels in the North Floyd Industrial Park near the Lowe's Regional Distribution Center, the 110 acre-North Floyd with rail site at the intersection Ga. 53 and Ga. 140, along with a 40-acre site and 13-acre site in the Floyd County Industrial Park. The joint Floyd-Gordon County Development Authority also has a 65-acre site available in Shannon. The community also markets land at the Berry Corporate Center off Technology Parkway, but does not control the property.
McCord said most large prospects are looking for 100 acres at the minimum.
Wright briefed the authority on the status of the Rome-Cartersville Economic Development Corridor, indicating that right of way acquisition should start in 2022 with construction now budgeted for 2027.
"We need to think positive that it will be before then" Wallace said. The connection to I-75 is currently pegged to cost $89 million.
Wright also said the GDOT project maps show a more southerly connection to I-75 scheduled for work by 2051, with a projected price tag of $157.8 million.