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Editor Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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Pike County (Industrial) Development Authority Meeting - June 7, 2023

ZEBULON - This meeting was at 8 a.m. in the main meeting room of the Chamber of Commerce. In attendance were: Chairman Kel Brannon, Zebulon Mayor Joe Walter, John Barker, David Nix, Dee McLeRoy, Vice Chairman Bryan Oglesby, County Manager Brandon Rogers, Sonny Gwyn, Stewart Essary.

[Note from the Editor: That $3 million piece of property the reason that I'm at this meeting. I'll continue attending these (with coffee in hand for future meetings) for a minute until some things fall into place with Zebulon and the county. I appreciate Bryan Oglesby walking through how a development authority works as well as County Clerk Angela Blount and County Manager Brandon Rogers providing open records information on the (Industrial) Development Authority. This meeting was pretty fascinating from an outsider's perspective! On a side note, I have interacted with this authority over the years and am going to call it the IDA in the meeting notes. However, they are about so much more than just industry so they are simply calling themselves the Development Authority.]

1. Call to Order

Meeting called to order 8:02 a.m.

2. Approval of the Agenda.

a. Approval of the May 2023 Regular Meeting Agenda

Motion to approve. Approved.

3. Invited Guests


4. Approval of the Minutes

a. Approval of the May 2023 Regular Meeting Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes. Approved.

5. Approval of the Financials

Stewart Essary. The sign at the business park looks good, and everyone is happy with it.

Kel Brannon and Brandon Rogers went to training in LaGrange.

Approved the financials.

6. Old Business

a. Update on applications for Executive Director.

Using Indeed. Gotten two candidates. No interviews yet. One local candidate. We may want to look at expanding the search through a company if needed.

Discussion on what to pay and how to pay it. County funding on this for benefits, salary. Posted at $65,000 to $75,000. If exceed the preferred, they can negotiate the salary. Reference to the funding received from the millage rate that the commissioners agreed to earlier this year. A question was asked if the Development Authority could get a signed long-term agreement from the Pike County Commission to show that there will be guaranteed funding each year from the millage rate.

Rogers said that the BOC is not going to do a long-term agreement. What you want is a guaranteed funding. They are willing to do the millage rate each year, but there won’t be a guaranteed piece of paper like a resolution from now on. Barker said that in order to get a qualified director, you’re going to have to pay for it. Oglesby said that 1/4 mill is a part of the budget. It was specified that they would like a resolution that guarantees this amount in writing.

Barker expressed concern with the fluctuation of the IDA budget over the years. He said that Meriwether County has a resolution between the IDA and county. A resolution that will give the IDA confidence in their budget so they won't be dealing with a possible drop in funding as he has seen over the years. Brannon pointed out that there is also going to be a note to pay on the land too.

Rogers said that 1/4 mill will stay the same, but the millage rate is going to change so the BOC can’t guarantee an exact dollar amount. Oglesby stressed a resolution about the written agreement on the millage rate for an annual basis that can say 1/4 up to 1 mill per year for funding for the Development Authority. Rogers said that something written shouldn’t be a problem.

Barker stressed that there needs to be consistency to fund economic development in our community. Brannon said that there should be a minimum in there in an intergovernmental agreement. Rogers asked who can write up the resolution? The Development Authority's attorney will do this.

[Note from the Editor: A signed resolution from the Board of Commissioners should be easy to do. This isn't asking for a specific dollar amount like Rogers was referring to in the discussion because the IDA was removed from the budget completely except for this. A pledge for a least 1/4 mill would be sufficient to ensure that a director will be paid each month when someone accepts this position, and it will also ensure that the Board will have the money needed to pay the required monthly amount on the $3 million property that they are going to handle. I have watched the fluctuation over the years and share Barker's concern. A fluctuation isn't going to keep a director employed or pay a bank note. The Hwy 341 Industrial Park is full from what I understand, and the Zebulon Business Park is filling up too. Businesses that bring in tax dollars are a help for the homeowners who are paying a majority of the taxes in this county.]

b. Update on IGA/MOU between the Authority, Pike County, and the City of Zebulon.

Attorney Kevin Brown working on this. Hopefully have something next month.

There was a discussion about making sure that the new property is handled in an orderly manner. That includes selecting a firm for master planning for preliminary engineering, utilities, etc. and getting the initial parts done with setting aside the county’s portion, infrastructure, road design, etc. It was also suggested that it would to help find a contractor to do the work. Then the rest of the property would be marketable. The concern was doing this right the first time.

[Note from the Editor: Planning for the future in an orderly manner was what I heard throughout this meeting. I like that a LOT. As someone who sat through discussions that brought water to the county through a reservoir that we don't own, I greatly appreciate the amount of time and energy that is going into this!]

There are 5 lots under development at the Pike Business Park now. 341 is fully developed.

8. New Business

Chairman Comments: None

Board Comments: None

Motion to adjourn. 8:39 a.m.

PLEASE NOTE: In order to understand what went on in the June meeting, some history and background may be needed. Scroll down to read more information in "History and Background for the Pike Industrial Development Authority / Development Authority of Pike County" below.

[Note from the Editor: If you appreciate being able to read information from county meetings for free on Pike County Times, please make a donation to Pike County Times through the PayPal link at the bottom of the page or by check to Pike County Times at PO Box 843, Zebulon so I can justify the amount of time that I am spending away from family. It may not seem like much but sitting in a meeting and then typing it up takes a lot more time than you might imagine! Thanks for reading Pike County's only FREE newspaper.]

History and Background for the Pike Industrial Development Authority / Development Authority of Pike County
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - Here is some background and history of the Industrial Development Authority of Pike County (IDA) / Development Authority of Pike County to help understand what this authority does for Pike County.

Looking For A Director

This IDA is the lead agency for attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion of existing industry, locating new markets for Pike County products, promoting Pike County for projects like arts, film, music, etc. and mobilizing county resources for economic development.

The Economic Director of this authority works with the authority to bring business developments to the county as well as promoting Pike County as a great place to investments of new businesses and jobs to our community. Economic development efforts affect the tax base of Pike County. The Industrial Development Authority is currently looking for an Economic Director.

What does a development authority do and how does it work? Here is information on how the IDA works: www.danmcrae.com/whitepapers/sidebar130626/sidebar-Development-Authorities.pdf. [Note from the Editor: Thank you to Vice Chair Oglesby for providing this information.]

Workshop with BOC Members

In a Special Called Meeting of the Pike County Board of Commissioners on February 20, 2023, commissioners had a round table discussion with members of the IDA regarding funding. In that meeting, Oglesby pointed out that the authority had gone for a year without an executive director and that Pike County is 149th in the state when it comes to taxes because a majority of the taxes in the county is coming for residents.

He also told commissioners that working from a $60,000 per year budget was not feasible and pointed out that the IDA needs to be separate from the County Commission because the IDA can offer incentives and do things that the Commission cannot do according to state law.

County Attorney Rob Morton advised that according to state law, a development authority can collect up to one mill on the millage rate each year that will be used for economic development in the county. It was decided in this meeting that the IDA would receive ¼ of a mill on tax bills rather than getting a designated amount from the Pike County Board of Commissioners each year and that the money placed in the account would grow with the IDA instead of rolling back into the General Fund.

The IDA will no longer receive any designated funds in the county budget itself. Click here to read the Pike County Times write up from this meeting: pikecountytimes.com/secondary/BOC2.20.23.html.

Regular Meetings

The Board meets once a month at 8 a.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at the Pike County Chamber of Commerce. Members are: Chairman Kel Brannon, Vice-Chairman Bryan Oglesby, Treasurer Stewart Essary, Sonny Gwyn, John Edwards, John Barker, David Nix, Dee McLeRoy, Briar Johnson (County Commission Chairman and BOC Designee), and Joe Walter (Mayor of Zebulon). County Manager Brandon Rogers is acting as the secretary until an Economic Director can be hired.

On March 1, 2023, there was a discussion about Lot #2 in the Zebulon Business Park. Verizon was looking at areas for a tower.

An update was given on the February Workshop with Commissioners that advised that the IDA is no longer a part of the county budget and will receive its own mill rate from the county each year with the Executive Director and the IDA reviewing the mill rate each year instead of receiving a specific dollar amount in the annual budget.

There was discussion on the hiring of an Executive Director.

On April 5, 2023, the board was advised that new applicants in the Zebulon Business Park had contacted the City of Zebulon for permits. Chairman Brannon and CM Rogers had attended a required class for IDA members.

There was an Executive Session where the IDA discussed acquire real estate and came out of Executive Session to make a 6/0 vote to draft an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Authority, the City of Zebulon, and Pike County to move forward with the purchase of the Scarbrough tracts. Additional votes included sending out a Request for Quotes to local banks for this property, approval of the Development Authority being the purchasing authority of this property, and approval for the Chairman and Vice-Chairman to move forward with a feasibility study for the property that would include a wetlands study and a DOT study.

[Note from the Editor: This is the approximately 238 acres in Zebulon ($3 million property) that the Pike County Board of Commissioners voted to approve on April 12, 2023 even though the IDA will be the owner of this property. This vote is what alerted Pike County Times to be on the lookout for information about the property and prompted a visit to the June 2023 IDA meeting. Click here to read about the BOC’s vote on April 12, 2023: www.pikecountytimes.com/secondary/BOC4.12.23.html.]

On May 3, 2023, the IDA reviewed the preliminary feasibility study on the Hwy 18 property and a request was made by Vice Chairman Oglesby to have the seller include all engineering and surveys that were previously completed on this property with the sale of the property. There was a discussion of surveys for wetlands, highlands, and unusable areas as well.

There was an email discussion that ended with a May 1, 2023 vote by email to accept the McNair drawings so the property could start being cleared with the understanding that the proposed building design would be submitted at a later date that were included as part of the minutes and directly mentioned in the May 3, 2023 meeting. The vote was then approved in the open meeting with the minutes reflecting the email discussion.

[Note from the Editor: I asked questions about ratifying the engineering plans by email because I know how the Open Meetings Act works for the Board of Commissioners, but I was unsure about how it works for a development authority. I learned that there are some marked differences with how development authorities work compared to the Board of Commissioners. I appreciate learning something new!]

IDA members approved the duties and responsibilities for the Executive Director position and approved advertising for this position including approving the addition of the county website, Indeed, and the Georgia Economic Development site.

Members were also advised that the discussion of the MOU between the county and the IDA for funding was postponed until the June meeting, that Vice Chair Oglesby is working the Kevin Brown and Blake Sharpton to get the Request for Purchase on the Hwy 18 property, that Reshann Adams has agreed to assist with the review of applicants for the Executive Director position, that the Pick Pike website and phone are being monitored by the Chair and Vice Chair, and Vice Chairman Oglesby’s suggestion for a project manager for the Hwy 18 property was met with a motion to move forward with sending out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a project manager.


There has been a lot of planning for the future by members of this Board with the purchase of the Hwy 18 property.

Members are being vocal with their concerns about doing things right the first time and walking through the steps needed to assure funding from the Pike County Board of Commissioners for the position of IDA Executive Director and the Hwy 18 property as well as obtaining cooperation from both the City of Zebulon and the Pike County Board of Commissioners through a Memorandum of Understanding for the Hwy 18 property.

Planning for the future has not always been how Pike County has done things in the past. The June meeting was an eye opener for Pike County Times on just how much planning is going on in our county as work is being done to bring in businesses that will help pay taxes here in the county and hopefully lessen the burden on homeowners.

Thank you to the members of this volunteer board for their hard work and dedication on the behalf of Pike County citizens.

[Note from the Editor: If you appreciate being able to read information from county meetings for free on Pike County Times, please make a donation to Pike County Times through the PayPal link at the bottom of the page or by check to Pike County Times at PO Box 843, Zebulon so I can justify the amount of time that I am spending away from family. It may not seem like much but sitting in a meeting and then typing it up takes a lot more time than you might imagine! Thanks for reading Pike County's only FREE newspaper.]