MILLEDGEVILLE — The City of Milledgeville agreed to keep its options open while deciding the best use for the Shaw Building in Tuesday's City Council work session.
City Manager Barry Jarrett said Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) chair Quay Fuller requested to partner with the city.
“At this point we are looking at all of the options related to that building. One of the primary options is an innovation center,” Jarrett said.
Jarrett said city staff has been busy examining business incubator and even commercial options, with one interested client already.
The city will pay taxes and insurance as long as the building sits.
An estimated cost of deconstructing equipment no longer applicable to the facility is more than $200,000, while the salvage value is only $35,000.
Jarrett said the agreement with Shaw Industries doesn't allow the city to sell the building for three years. He wants it back on the tax base.
“That doesn't mean we can't lease to sell,” the city manager said. “All of those options are open, and I want to keep them open.”
Jeanette Walden, District 2, said partnering with everyone would promote more jobs.
“We don't need to let it sit there while we are pondering. We need jobs,” Walden said.
Mayor Richard Bentley said Georgia College President Dr. Steve Dorman is open to community investment. The city would need the help at the Shaw Building.
Steve Chambers, District 6, asked if smaller sections of the 92,000 square foot facility could be multi-use instead of selling the building as a whole.
“Y'all are going to have some difficult decisions to make with this upcoming budget, and what we are talking about here is another investment,” Jarrett said.
Water treatment plant superintendent Robert Hadden described a necessary update to the current treatment process for the city to fall in line with updated Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) standards on totally suspended solids including chlorine, aluminum and iron.
Hadden said the EPD requires the city to do something with the particulates taken out of the settlement basins and back washed out of filter. For the last 12 years, the water has settled in numerous holding ponds with the discharge going into Tobler Creek.
Current, slug-holding capacity falls short of the need.
“EPD has issued new regulations on that discharged water, and we're not quite able to meet those,” Hadden said.
The best option would be reopening a sludge thickener built in 1972 and taken out of operation in 2001. Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) money totaling $480,000 would put that back into service to help with EPD standard compliance.
“We wouldn't discharge to the ponds at all,” the water treatment superintendent said.
The project would take six months to complete, and City Manager Barry Jarrett said the plans are already laid out.
In other news:
• Council signed a letter drafted by the CSHLRA asking for state reprieve from the scheduled Crag Center closing at the end of 2013.
• Councilman Phillip Joiner, District 4, motioned to accept Dr. Collinda Lee, District 1, as Mayor Pro Tempore, which passed unanimously. As Mayor Pro Tempore, Lee will conduct council business in the absence of Mayor Richard Bentley.
• The city agreed to pay $1,562 four times per year during the next two years to hold up their end of an OneGeorgia loan for the spec building at the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Industrial Park. Jarrett said the payments would put the development authority over its allotted budget of $131,348. The city manager questioned if the city ever committed to the loan but agreed to issue the check today.
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