By DOTTY NIST
Approval has been granted for the sale of additional acreage at Mossy Head Industrial Park, and county commissioners also recently took a step toward increasing sewer capacity at the county-owned industrial park in northern Walton County.
The decisions took place at the Feb. 11 Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting at the South Walton Annex.
Walton County Administrator Larry Jones brought forward an offer on behalf of Empire Truck Sales for the purchase of an additional five acres to the west of the 10 acres that the BCC had agreed to sell to the truck sales, parts and service company in December. The offer was at the same terms as the previous purchase, with the land to be sold at a price of $20,000 per acre.
Purchase of the additional acreage was approved, with Empire to be the second business to be located at the industrial park.
Also at the Feb. 11 meeting, an offer for purchase of 10 acres in the area to the west of the Empire Truck Sales site was submitted by realtor Steve Youell on behalf of Brian Brigman. Brigman indicated that he planned to construct a used truck sale business that would employ 15 to 20 people.
Brigman’s offer was for $15,000 per acre, with the county to pay a six-percent commission to Youell as agent.
There was agreement among the commissioners that more information was needed on the contract that Brigman was proposing. It was determined that the county had not paid commission on previous land sales in the industrial park. County Commission Chairman Bill Chapman said he thought the realtor’s commission should be borne by the purchaser and not by the county.
The prospective buyer was asked to meet with Jones to see if a mutual agreement could be reached on the transaction, with any agreement to be brought back before the BCC for consideration.
Later in the meeting, Art Miller of the Institute of Senior Professionals pointed out that the Mossy Head Industrial Park’s first tenant, Love’s Travel Stop, had paid $33,000 an acre. Miller said he realized that job creation was the “key element” with the park, but he urged the commissioners to “hold the line” on the land price and not “give it away.” Miller also recommended applying land sales revenues to enhancement of economic development.
At one point in the meeting, Jones explained that funds from sales of land at the park are kept in a separate account designated for those revenues.
In other action at the meeting, the commissioners received a request by Jones to advertise and seek bids for construction of a 250,000-gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant at the industrial park.
Jones explained that he was making the recommendation due to increased activity at Mossy Head and strong interest in a number of parcels at the industrial park.
Sewer service for the industrial park had been initiated by connecting the park with existing sewer plants at the Mossy Head School and the Dixie RV business, with plans to proceed with the wastewater treatment plant once 75-percent capacity was reached with those facilities. Jones reported that demand was nearing that percentage.
Jones noted that the plant had been designed and permitted. He said indications had been that construction would cost approximately $4.4 million.
On a motion by District 3 Commissioner Bill Imfeld, the commissioners unanimously approved going out for bids for the wastewater treatment plant.
The wastewater treatment plant is on the county’s list of priorities for which state and/or federal grant funding are being sought. In response to a question, Jones said that if such funding were not obtained, the cost of the plant could be paid by borrowing money and then paying back the debt by utilizing user fees as a revenue stream.
By DOTTY NIST