Floyd County commissioners discussed a possible $1.72 million TAD for the Berry hotel construction during their premeeting caucus but are still unsure if they will back it.
Berry College is proposing a 92-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott to be located along Match Point Way, the entrance to the tennis center off the Armuchee Connector.
Under a TAD, the increase in property taxes stemming from improvements to the property would be funneled back into the project for a set number of years. The taxing entities would have to agree to forgo the money.
The Rome Redevelopment Agency, composed of representatives from the Rome and Floyd County governments as well as private citizens, voted 4-2 in favor of the Tax Allocation District financing agreement a few weeks ago. County Manager Jamie McCord and County Commissioner Larry Maxey opposed the agreement, saying that it isn’t a good time to impose a TAD since they recently raised the millage rate in the county.
During the caucus, McCord voiced concern over investing in a hotel and tourism while the pandemic continues. However, he did agree that a hotel is needed in that particular area, since many visiting tennis players end up staying in Cartersville due to the lack of hotels in Rome.
Before the pandemic started, Rome and Floyd County averaged a 60% to 68% occupancy rate at their hotels, McCord said.
Berry College’s general counsel Danny Price said he’s unsure if the hotel could be built without the TAD and that it would be a huge benefit to the community in the long run. Commissioners didn’t take any action or make a decision regarding the TAD, wanting to review the agreement and hear the City Commission’s input.
A 2020 Census update was postponed to the next meeting, due to many of the representatives being unable to attend.
Some servers remain offlineMcCord gave a quick update on the county servers, saying about 40% of devices have been scanned by the IT Department.
The majority of the county servers have been down for a week now, after a virus got into the system. Since then, the IT Department has been working nonstop to get everything back online, McCord said. While they still don’t know how the virus infiltrated the system, they believe it may have come from an email or a flash drive.
The county had purchased new software security for their servers over the last year, which was able to save more backups and protect the devices. McCord said they would be in much deeper trouble if they had been hit with the virus a year before.
For now, county departments are working from backups. Once the servers are back online, McCord will meet with IT Director La Sonja Holcomb to figure out the best way to upgrade the systems to minimize the risk of this happening again.
Commissioners also went into closed session to discuss property acquisition, but no action was taken.